New Italy-Serbia rail corridor could serve as Ukraine bypass
A new rail freight corridor connecting the Italian northeast with the Serbian capital Belgrade will open at the end of September. The main purpose of the initiative is to transport products manufactured in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region that will be used for the construction of large civil works in Serbia. However, the new connection could also act as an alternative route avoiding war-torn Ukraine, as regional councilor for Infrastructure and Territory Cristina Amirante said.
Trains will depart from the Cervignano Intermodal Terminal, 60 kilometres from the port of Trieste. They will be operated by AlpeAdria, one of the most active rail freight companies in the Friuli Venezia Giulia area. According to Italian media AdriaPorts, the service will run three times per week. The new Serbia-Italy corridor was presented on Friday, 15 September at an event in Capriva del Friuli.
Looking further than Serbia
In addition to supplying Serbia with construction materials for civil works, the new service is expected to boost trade between the Italian region and Eastern Europe in general. Moreover, it should increase “the efficiency of goods transport, giving the possibility of avoiding the passage through Ukraine currently at war”, as Amirante pointed out. Other than her, the Italian Ministry for Relations with the Parliament, Luca Ciriani, and the Serbian Secretary of State Mihajlo Mišić were present at the event.
It needs to be noted that the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region communicated that “the project is included within the trans-European transport network (TEN-T)”. The route does in fact run along the Mediterranean Corridor, on the section from Cervignano to Belgrade via Zagreb, in Croatia, in May. As Ciriani underlined, Belgrade has requested to become an EU Member State and the relationship with Serbia needs to be nurtured.