Yesterday, the socialist majority passed changes to the Porto Romano seaport’s concessionary contract. The port that was once dedicated exclusively to the oil trade will now also host other freight shipments.
The expansion of the concessionary contract will allow the oil terminal operator to anchor and store ships carrying a variety of other trade goods.
In June 2015, the Rama government signed a 35-year concessionary contract for the construction and operation of an oil terminal in the Porto Romano area near Durres. The concessionary company, MBM Port (Multi Buoy Mooring) is owned by Kastrati Group (65%), Europetrol Group (35%), and Salillari shpk (1%).
In April 2020, MBM Port asked the government to expand its concessionary contract beyond exclusively oil shipments. It argued that this was “an opportunity to maximize the use of the port’s capacities.”
On April 27, the Albanian government announced a tender for the construction of the road that connects the city of Durrës and the oil terminal in Porto Romano. The 2.1km road will apparently cost 5.5 million euros, a cost that seems high for a road to be constructed on a flat field, “with no significant vertical deflections.”
The tender comes at a curious time, seeing as the government previously blocked all public procurement procedures that do not relate to the coronavirus pandemic or reconstruction efforts after the November 26 earthquake.
The opposition Democratic Party (PD) has slammed the parliament’s vote for expanding the contract, denouncing the privatization of the port as a “flagrant violation of the country’s laws and national security standards.” PD warned that this private port will weaken Albania’s long fight against drug trafficking and smugglers.
The governing Socialist Party maintains that the private MBM Port of Porto Romano will replace the public Port of Durres, which will now be oriented toward tourism.