Building a land bridge between Slovenia and Germany

April 16, 2003

EUREKA project LOGCHAIN E-W-LAND-BRIDGE is an ambitious multi-national project to establish an inter-modal inland link as an alternative transport route between the Adriatic Sea and southern Germany to the existing 5,000 km sea journey.

It is envisaged that this link, the "land bridge", will be an integrated system utilising rail, road and inland waterways such as the main Danube canal. This connection will provide essential extensions to the northern European rail and road transport corridors, offering routes connecting Koper (Slovenia) and Nürnberg (Germany).

The scheme offers a considerable improvement to the existing route that cargo currently takes from the Adriatic to Germany. The traditional journey involves a 5,000 km journey through Gibraltar and around north and western Europe, through the Rhine ports and onto the Rhine-Main Canal inland waterway or railway system. The new route will be of particular benefit to cargo traffic that has already passed through the Suez Canal from Middle and Far Eastern ports.

A core element of the project has been identifying possible routes for the land bridge. But the team have also examined the industry sectors that would use it, the means of transport currently available and the operational and strategic requirements of the ports at Koper and Nürnberg.

Axel Eisele (the German project officer) at Stadt Nürnberg/Amt für Wirtschaft described the work of the German and Slovenian project teams. "Our job was to examine the logistical, marketing and infrastructural integration in the supply chains of the 15 current EU countries, to make the port of Koper a portal for the flow of goods. We hope that through this work with our Slovenian partners on road and rail links we will help the integration of Slovenia into the EU."

The project partners have also investigated potential savings in transport time, lowering of transport costs and the integration of Slovenia and the surrounding Adriatic neighbouring countries into the logistic process.

"We collected data about the general and specific cargo flow between Nürnberg in Bavaria and Koper in Slovenia and concluded that Bavaria is the most important economic partner for Slovenia in Germany. The integration of Slovenia into the EU will increase the need for an adapted infrastructure and a cooperative economical environment to cope with the increased flow of goods related to more economic wealth."

But much work is left to be done. Since an obvious mainline road-rail infrastructure is not yet in place a key challenge still facing the project is the identification of efficient, environmentally acceptable routes and logistical solutions.
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