In 2020, “Thessaloniki Port Authority S.A.” (ΟΛΘ Α.Ε.) announced the creation of the first Dry Port, a cargo storage and management terminal in Bulgaria, which will be followed by the establishment of two more in Romania and Serbia very soon.
Dry ports are essential elements in the supply chain, multiplying the storage space of the ports, even if those spaces are located miles away from the actual port. They receive products either for import or for export, which are transported in containers through the port and have a stopover or final destination in the country where each dry port is located. A necessary condition for them to function properly is the existence of a connection of each port with the road and railway network of the country or the road and railway network crossing between multiple countries (e.g. Greece and Bulgaria).
The creation of a “Dry Port network” of the port of Thessaloniki was one of the strategic goals of ΟΛΘ Α.Ε., after the acquisition of 67% of its shares by the consortium South East Gateway Thessaloniki (SEGT Ltd), in order to upgrade the role of the port as maritime gateway to the greater region.
The first Dry Port of “ΟΛΘ Α.Ε.” was founded in the Iliyantsi district of Sofia, Bulgaria, under the name "ThPA Sofia EAD". Starting from last January, the Dry Port has started to expand inland with a view to improve the connectivity of the port of Thessaloniki. Its direct rail connection to the port of Thessaloniki is expected to significantly improve transit times and costs. The new Dry Port aims to be an important commercial hub and a modern development center that will be connected by train with a series of Dry Ports to be developed in the near future in various countries of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, thus contributing significantly to the strengthening of the export and import capacity / activity of many companies in those countries.
The first train departed from the port of Thessaloniki on November 27, 2020 and arrived within ten hours at the Dry Port in Sofia. The pilot phase of the offered service lasted until mid-January 2021, in order to allow sufficient time to regulate all individual procedures and services. From January onwards, there are 3 itineraries per week from the Port of Thessaloniki to the dry port of Sofia and vice versa on specific days and hours, offering stability and efficiency in the market. The ultimate goal of “ΟΛΘ Α.Ε.” is to provide on specific days and times, regular (weekly) itineraries between the port of Thessaloniki and the Dry Port of Sofia. The benefits of the regular and direct railway connection are varied and include the provision of reliable and efficient services, the increase of the competitiveness of the port of Thessaloniki, the strengthening of the import and export activity in the connected countries and consequently the significant contribution to the local / regional and national economy and in the economy of South East Europe as a whole.
In 2021, the procedures for the establishment of two more Dry Ports (in Serbia and Romania) are expected to begin, with the prospect of those centers cooperating with each other and of course significantly increasing traffic in the port of Thessaloniki. With the upgrading of the connection of the port of Thessaloniki to the interior and to the neighboring countries, it will be possible in the near future to develop a network of combined transport terminals (Dry ports), initially in the neighboring countries and then to the rest of the countries of Southeastern and Central Europe, according to the planning of “ΟΛΘ Α.Ε.”.
The corporate name of the subsidiary of “ΟΛΘ Α.Ε.” in Bulgaria is “ThPA Sofia EAD” and its contact details are as follows:
ThPA Sofia EAD
Address: 2 Azalia Str., Iliyantsi 1271, Sofia Bulgaria
Contact Person: Andrey Tokarev, Hinterland Development Officer