Albania - Transportation

Many roads are unsuitable for motor transport; bicycles and donkeys are common. There had been virtually no private cars in the country, but they have become more common since the opening of the borders. In 2001, there were 18,000 km (11,185 mi) of roads, of which 5,400 km (3,356 mi) were paved. One of the many recent infrastructural projects was the construction of a 241 km (150 mi) four-lane highway linking Durrës with Greece, via Pogradec and Kapshtica.

Railroad construction began in 1947, and lines in 2001 had a total length of 447 km (228 mi) of standard gauge track. Narrow gauge rail includes the Durrës-Tiranë, Durrës-Elbasan, Ballsh Rrogozhinë, Vorë-Shkodër, and Selenicë-Vlorë lines. In 1979, Albania signed an agreement with the former Yugoslavia to construct a rail link between Shkodër and Titograd; the link was opened to international freight traffic in September 1986.

Albania's rivers are not navigable, but there is some local shipping on lakes Shkodër, Ohrid, and Prespë. Coastwise vessels link the ports of Durrës, Vlorë, Sarandë, and Shëngjin. Durrës is the principal port for foreign trade. The merchant fleet of Albania in 2001 consisted of 7 vessels of 1,000 GRT or over, all cargo ships, totaling about 13,423 GRT. A freight ferry service between Durrës and Trieste was inaugurated in 1983.

In 2001, there were eleven airports, three of which had paved runways. Flights from Tiranë's international airport connect the Albanian capital with Athens, Belgrade, and Switzerland (the latter route opened in June 1986). In 2001, 146,300 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.

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