Corridor VIII has great potential, but much more investments and work are needed to complete it. This is what the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications Hristo Alexiev stated in the framework of the signing ceremony of the Memorandum on Cooperation in the construction of sustainable infrastructure along Corridor VIII. The document was signed by Minister Hristo Alexiev, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy of the Republic of Albania Belinda Balluku and Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of North Macedonia Blagoj Bochvarski.
"It is very important for us to develop and upgrade transport connectivity in the region. Some connections are still missing and others need to be upgraded to provide sufficient capacity. In general, a large part of the sections have been completed along the infrastructure of the Corridor on the Bulgarian territory. We are currently working on the modernization of the railway section Elin Pelin-Kostenets and the rehabilitation of the railway line Plovdiv-Burgas, Phase 2 in the direction of Corridor VIII. A project for technical assistance related to the modernization and construction of the railway line from Sofia to the border with the Republic of North Macedonia is also being implemented", Minister Hristo Alexiev said.
The three Ministers expressed a common view that Corridor VIII should be seen as a joint project covering the entire infrastructure - port, rail and road. The thorough completion of Corridor VIII will lead to better transport and economic connectivity, as well as improved efficiency of transport services.
By signing the Memorandum, the three countries reaffirmed the importance of mutual efforts to accelerate the development of Corridor VIII and build the missing links between the three countries, as well as the projects on the territory of each of them.
The Memorandum states that the Republic of Bulgaria will make efforts to complete the construction of the last railway section from Gyueshevo to the border with the Republic of North Macedonia (2.5 km) and the modernization of the existing transport infrastructure of the railway section Sofia-Pernik-Radomir-Gueshevo. The Minister pointed out that the tender for the construction of Pernik-Radomir railway section would start the following week. He added that the technical project for the railway connection Radomir-Gyueshevo was currently being prepared, and the construction procedure was expected to be approved at the beginning of the next year.
The Republic of North Macedonia will work on the construction and finalization of the transport infrastructure to the border with the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Albania. This includes the completion of the activities on the railway sections Kumanovo-Belyakovtse-Kriva Palanka and the construction of the new railway line in the section Kriva Palanka-Deve Bair, border with the Republic of Bulgaria (89 km in total). Preparation of detailed projects for modernization and electrification of the railway section Kumanovo-Skopje-Kichevo (total length 150 km) and construction of a new railway line in the section Kichevo-Stuga-Lin, border with the Republic of Albania (total length 70 km).
For its part, the Republic of Albania undertakes to work on the rehabilitation of the Tirana-Durres railway line and the construction of the new railway branch to Mother Teresa International Airport (Rinas) (total length 34.7 km), as well as on the rehabilitation of the railway line the Durres-Rogozin-Pogradec-Lin and the construction of a new railway connection Lin-border with the Republic of North Macedonia (total length 137 km).
According to the document, the three countries agree to achieve these goals by 2030.