The port of Thessaloniki, since 315 BC, is the natural gateway leading to the Balkan Peninsula hinterland and the countries of Central Europe. Situated in a location of great strategic importance it became, frequently in the past, the object of sieges, attacks, invasions and sea battles.
Its coordinates are:
Latitude : 40° 38′ 20″ N
Longitude : 22° 56′ 53″ E
Time Zone : UTC + 2
UN/locode : GRSKG
Situated in the creek of Thermaikos Gulf, it plays an exceptional role regarding the wider area's merchant traffic. It serves not only as a domestic merchant port but also as a hub for the adjacent markets due to its proximity and extensive transport network. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of tons of all kinds of cargoes (bulk, breakbulk, liquid and containerised) are moved yearly via the port of Thessaloniki destined to the neighbour countries of Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, F.Y.R.O.M. and Albania.
The distances between Thessaloniki and the capital cities of neighbouring countries are:
Thessaloniki - Sofia (Bulgaria) :280 Km
Thessaloniki - Beograd (Serbia) :610 Km
Thessaloniki - Pristina (Kosovo) :320 Km
Thessaloniki - Skopje (F.Y.R.O.M.) :220 Km
Thessaloniki - Tirana (Albania) :328 Km
Thessaloniki Port Authority (TH.P.A S.A) is a public limited company enlisted in the Athens Stock Exchange with the Greek state being its major shareholder. Since the beginning of the previous century (1925) the port operates as a Free Zone (control type I) but also complies with the European Union directives since May 1, 1995. It is adequately equipped, providing modern facilities for accepting and handling all types of cargo and is remarkably well connected with road and rail.
Available are six piers with docks of a total length of 6.200 metres along with all kinds of mechanical equipment and a maximum draft of about 12 m. The container terminal (S.EMBO) is located at pier Nr. 6. Presently it covers an area of approximately 254.000 sq. metres with a storage capacity of 4700 TEUs (including 336 reefer plugs). Loading/discharging operations are provided 24/7 with four gantry cranes of 40 - 50 tons lifting capacity two of which are post panama type. Railway connection reaches the container terminal while a transtainer of 50 tons lifting capacity is used to load/unload the containers onto/from the railcars. Forklifts, straddle carriers and other mechanical means are also available.
It is worth noting that as from August 4th , 2011 the port's free zone has been expanded by 75 square kilometers (its total surface now occupies 1002 square kilometres) located northwest of the piers No. 5 and No. 6 , adjacent to both the conventional cargo quays and the container terminal.
Nowadays the Port Authority is in the process of expanding the container terminal's area and infrastructure in order to meet the latest demands of modern shipping (the ability to accommodate larger ships with a draft up to 16 meters) and cope with the increased container throughput.