The Italian port of Ancona has upgraded its rail infrastructure, extending its quay sidings to 600 m. The port authority president Rodolfo Giampiero said the work, which will allow the port to accommodate longer cargo trains, will be finished next year.
Ancona is one of the most important Adriatic ports for Motorways of the Sea traffic in the east Mediterranean, particularly Greece. Annually it moves more than 2 million tonnes of ro-ro cargo and carries about 130,000 trucks. Last year the port handled an estimated 165,000 teu.
According to the EU transport directorate, Ancona will be a key node in its TEN-T Network as a southern terminus for both the Baltic-Adriatic and Scandinavian-Mediterranean cargo corridors. The work to upgrade the port’s rail infrastructure forms part of the EU strategy to ensure fast and efficient freight corridors across the whole of Europe.
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The port is directly connected to the main Adriatic rail line along Italy’s east coast. A final bottleneck along that line, a dual-track rail tunnel in the town of Cattolica further up the Adriatic line, is also in the process of being removed. The project manager in charge of enlarging one side of the tunnel to comply with the required clearance gauge P45 said the work had been completed, allowing cargo trains to pass in both directions, but there were still some signalling issues to resolve.
Beyond the rail node of Bologna on the Adriatic line, trains either cross the Alps via the Simplon Pass to reach Basel in Switzerland and the Rhine Valley, or turn northeast towards the Brenner Pass to access southern Germany. An EU study published in 2014 found that 70% of the ro-ro traffic disembarking at Ancona had western or central Europe as its final destination.