total: 447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)
Railway links with neighbouring countries:
The total length of Albania's highways more than doubled in the first three decades after World War II, and by the 1980s almost all of the country's remote mountain areas were connected, at least by dirt roads, with the capital city of Tirana and ports on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea. The country's roads, however, were generally narrow, poorly marked, pocked with holes, and in the early 1990s often crowded with pedestrians and people riding mules, bicycles, and horse-drawn carts. Even in tiny villages, hundreds of people of all ages gathered daily along main roads waving their arms seeking rides, and gangs of children often blocked rural highways hoping to coax foreign travelers into tossing them candy. Heavy snowfalls cut off some mountain areas for weeks at a time.
Central government funding of local road maintenance effectively ended in 1991, and the breakdown of repair vehicles because of a lack of spare parts threatened to close access to some remote areas. A group of Greek construction companies signed a protocol with the Albanian government in July 1990 to build a 200 kilometer road across the southern part of the country, extending from the Albanian-Greek border to Durrës. The project was scheduled to last four years and cost US$500 million.
Despite the appalling quality of Albania's roads, most of the country's freight was conveyed over them in a fleet of about 15,000 smoke-belching trucks. According to official figures, in 1987 Albania's roadways carried about 66 percent of the country's total freight tonnage. In 1991 the Albanian government lifted the decades-old ban on private-vehicle ownership. The country's roads, once almost devoid of motor traffic, began filling up with recklessly driven cars that had been bought in used-car lots across Europe. Car imports numbered about 1,500 per month, and a black-market car lot began operating just off Tirana's main square. Traffic in the capital remained light, but traffic lights and other control devices were urgently needed to deal with the multiplying number of privately owned cars. Albanian entrepreneurs also imported used Greek buses and started carrying passengers on intercity routes that did not exist or had been poorly serviced during the communist era. Gangs of hijackers and thieves, who preyed on truck and automobile traffic, made road travel hazardous in some regions.
Currently the major cities of the country are linked with first class national roads. There is a four lane highway connecting the city of Durrës with Tirana and the city of Durrës with the city of Lushnje. Albania is partaking in the construction of what it sees as three major corridors of transportation. The major priority as of present is the construction of the Durrës-Pristina highway. In 2004 a deal was signed to connect the port of Durrës with city of Pristina in Kosovo with a four lane highway. Construction has begun and the highway is expected to be finished by 2009. The second priority is the construction of European corridor 8 linking Albania with the Republic of Macedonia and Greece. The third priority for the government is the construction of the north-south axis of the country; it is sometimes referred to as the Adriatic-Ionian highway as it is part of a larger regional highway connecting Croatia with Greece along the Adriatic and Ionian coasts. By the end of the decade it is expected that the majority of the sections of these three corridors will have been built. When all three corridors are completed Albania will have an estimated 759 kilometers of highway linking it with its neighbors.
Highway Sections Under Construction as of 2007:
In 2006 Albania joined the E-road cooperation. The following European routes pass through the country:
Albania's main seaports are Durrës, Vlorë, Sarandë, and Shëngjin. By 1983 there was regular ferry, freight, and passenger services from Durrës to Trieste, Italy. In 1988 ferry service was established between Sarandë and the Greek island of Corfu. A regular lake ferry linked the Macedonian town of Ohrid with Pogradec. The estimated total displacement of Albania's merchant fleet was 56,000 tons in 1986. The limited capacity of the wharves at Durrës caused severe bottlenecks in the distribution of foreign food aid in 1991.
As of 2007 Albania has only one international airport: Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza. The airport is linked to 29 destinations by 14 airlines. It has seen a dramatic rise in terms of passenger numbers and aircraft movements since the early 1990s. In December 2007 it served over 1 million passengers and had 43 landings and takeoffs per day.
Kukes airport is expected to open in early 2008, making this the second civilian airport in Albania. A local news paper announced on March 16, 2007 that the Italian government would help rebuild the airport in Gjirkoastra. The airport would be dual functional, both a civilian and military airport. The first phase of construction is expected to start in September 2007. Currently there are two feasibility studies being conducted for airports in Vlora and Korca. The plan for Saranda airport was completed however there is no known investor willing to put in money at the time.
To counter weakness in money supply growth, Congress may call on fed to ease interest rates. (Federal Reserve Board)
Jul 15, 1991; WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan could come under pressure from Congress this week to further ease...