The Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy has not yet opened the international competition for the construction of the new commercial port in Porto Romano, although it promised that the procedure would be opened at the end of January. The project, introduced pompously in December 2022, has started with delays and overruns. Durres Port Authority says the tender is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, as working groups are still evaluating the legal and financial practices. The responsible ministry, on the other hand, has no explanation for the delays accompanying the project of the new commercial port in Porto Romano.
“At the end of January 2023, according to all the work we are doing with Eric Smit and with Royal Haskoning we will be ready to launch the international competition, which will be open to all companies that have shown a special interest.” – declared the Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku on December 12th last year, during the presentation of the new port project in Porto Romano.
Even the director of the Port Authority of Durrës, Pirro Vëngu, in a TV appearance in mid-January, confirmed the same scenario stated earlier by Balluku.
“In the ideal scenario, the international competition is opened in the following weeks, and we intend to close the contract negotiation according to all legal provisions and announce the winner or the winning consortium, as is usually the case with such tenders, within the end of the first six months, the beginning of the second six months, with the intention that the second six months will be the beginning of the works.” – said Vëngu.
Waiting for the international competition for Porto Romano
From the verifications made, it appears that the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy has not yet opened the international competition for the construction of the new port in Porto Romano, although the publicly promised deadline has already expired two months ago.
The only concrete development for this project so far is a consultative meeting that the government held on February 2, with international companies and institutions interested in the construction of Porto Romano.
According to the announcements made public by the Media and Information Agency, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Port Authority of Durres, none of the government representatives has given any explanation on the delays in the opening of the international competition for Porto Romano.
“The large number of visitors shows the great interest in this project and we have decided to build this project on a transparent basis, starting from the selection of our consultant, which was done through an international competition, and including every other stage of the process.”- said Belinda Balluku during the meeting in early February.
How do the authorities justify the delay?
At the beginning of March, Faktoje addressed a request for information to the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Port Authority of Durrës.
Until the moment of publication of this article, we did not receive a response from the Ministry of Infrastructure, so we are in the process of appealing for the requested information.
While the Port Authority of Durrës, in its official response to Faktoje, says that the competition is expected to be announced in the following weeks, as the working groups are still evaluating its legal and financial practices.
“Following the introductory meeting with the interested parties and obtaining the development permit, the international consultants are finalizing the technical project. In the meantime, the working groups at Durrës Port Authority, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, and the Ministry of Finance and Economy are evaluating all the legal and financial practices in accordance with the legal provisions, to continue with the announcement of the international competition in the following weeks.” – argues the Port Authority of Durrës.
If the international competition for the new port in Porto Romano had opened at the end of January, the winner was scheduled to be announced in July. As previously warned by a Faktoje article, this is the first delay of the project, which according to port engineer Tomorr Spahiu will be a ‘mission impossible’.
“What happened with the Port of Karpen will happen again. The government approved the concessionary agreement for this port in 2016, following on year of big propaganda. Their proposal was made without any basis, or any studies at all. Propaganda, on the other hand, shouted that Karpen would compete even with Rotterdam. And surprisingly since then, no one ‘tweets’ anymore. The same thing is happening with the famous Durres Yacht Marina and the new Commercial Port of Porto Romano. I am very convinced that this will also be diminished. As you can see, they themselves are already inconsistent, saying it will be financed by public money and then, after that, it will be done through a concessionary agreement, two different statements within the same week,” said Spahiu.