The European Investment Bank, the European Union's long-term financing institution is lending EUR 17 million for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the cargo handling facilities and quays of the port of Durrës in Albania.

The loan is being advanced to Durrës Port Authorities (DPA), a state-owned joint-stock company established in its present form in 1998, which owns and operates the port.

The EIB loan, which is closely linked and complementary to the on-going World Bank financing of the port, consists of basic port infrastructure and equipment serving multiple uses and improving efficiency as well as safety of cargo handling at the port. The project has three components: 1) Paving, drainage and engineering networks behind quays, 2) purchase of one or two mobile cranes of 40-45 tonnes, and 3) rehabilitation of all slope protection at the western breakwater of the port.

The port of Durrës is the largest and most important of Albania's four ports, handling some 85% of the country's international maritime traffic. As the western end of the Pan-European Transport Corridor VIII, Durrës has an essential role to play in the economic development of the country and the Western Balkan region. Its financing structure, is a good example of EIB cooperation with other multilateral financing institutions such as the European Commission (PHARE) and the World Bank. This new EIB loan is also complementary to a EUR 22 million EIB loan signed in 1998 for a 21km section of a new high capacity road between the port of Durrës, and the capital Tirana.

The EIB was established in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome, finances capital investment projects, which further European Union policy objectives. It also helps implement the EU's co-operation policies towards third countries. The EIB is a lead player in implementing the European Union's priority objectives in the Balkan area.

Active in Albania since 1994, the EIB has contributed over EUR 140 million towards projects of key importance for the Albanian economy, such as various infrastructure investments and the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises in the productive and cooperative sectors through a global loan (credit line) to Albania's banking sector.