Discussion on the national transport strategy

Maya DIMITROVA

The new transport policy of the European Commission aims at the re-establishment of the balance between transport modes, the development of intermodal services and the enhancement of service quality and safety. The concept for the rehabilitation of railway transport forms the basis of European policy for the period till 2010. These facts were pointed out by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Transport and Communications, Prof. Iordan Mirchev, during the last regular meeting of the Committee, held jointly with the management teams of the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works on 16th February. This meeting officially inaugurated the public debate on the policy and development strategy for the sector till 2015. Prof. Mirchev announced that thee discussion will involve the positions of experts from the large transport centres in the country, where local debates will be held.

The current European position firmly supports the concept for the need to hinder monopolistic developments and achieve a balance between different transport modes. The concerns are that if no timely measures are taken then the share of the railways in 2010 will drop down to 7%. This poses new challenges to our country, which were defined by Iordan Mirchev as the enhancement of national transport competitiveness, a significant improvement in transport service quality, the definition of clear and equal rules for all relevant sectors and more efficient implementation of approved infrastructure projects. Analyses raise serious concerns as to the tendencies for the structure of transit cargoes via our country. Only 10% of them go by rail, 5% go via Bulgarian ports, while the larger part (about 85%) is transported by road. At the same time, our Northern and Southern neighbours exercise significant competitive pressure for regional re-orientation of transport flows, as was pointed out in the presentations of the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Transport and of the Minister of Transport, Petar Mutafchiev. The Minister confirmed that by end-May the Government will adopt the national strategy, comprising of transport, energy and environment concepts, for the period till 2015. This strategy will aim at defining the most efficient actions against the risk of future re-orientation of main transport flows, which could result in their going round and not via Bulgaria.

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