In 2024 the Logistics Commercial Center, a pioneering project will be launched that will facilitate export business
The tendering process for the construction of the Logistics Commercial Centre in Gonou camp, Western Thessaloniki, one of the 30+ large projects included in the government’s plan for “Thessaloniki 2030,” is expected to start in 2024. This project will make a major contribution to the export-oriented business.
Already, the interest of investors, both Greek and foreign, is recorded, as this project is considered a driving force for the development of exports, trade, and the movement of goods from the port of Thessaloniki to the Balkan hinterland, including Bulgaria and Romanian partners within the EU, as well as other countries in South-East Europe.
The supply chain and logistics sector presents growth in Greece in recent years (representing the largest share of the total 9% of GDP).
This rapid growth, at the heart of which is the capital of Macedonia, is due to the changes that the rapid development of electronic communications and, in particular, the fact that Greece, especially the North of Greece, is an important transit hub for international flows of goods. It plays a decisive role in shaping new transit networks.
Especially in Thessaloniki and in Central Macedonia, companies operating in the supply chain are experiencing explosive growth. This is due to the strategic position of Thessaloniki, which is the first major city in Greece connected to the pan-European transport network TEN-T interconnection. This network incorporates the creation of railways, roads, inland waterways, maritime shipping routes, ports, airports, and rail terminals. In this way, the main Greek road and railway networks are connected to the corresponding networks in the Balkans (Bulgaria, Romania) and Central Eastern Europe (Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany). Similarly, there is connectivity with the major commercial ports in Greece (Piraeus, Patras, Igoumenitsa) and the mentioned countries (Burgas, Constanta via Hungary, Bremen, Hamburg, Lübeck, Rostock).
The Association of Exporters – SEVE was the driving force behind the creation of this specific Center in Thessaloniki. Its president, Simeon Diamantidis, leveraging the interest during the visit of the heir to the throne of Saudi Arabia to Greece, proposed its establishment in the western Thessaloniki region. Mr. Diamantidis convened a meeting of the city’s stakeholders for this purpose, and his proposal was unanimously accepted.
At the last (48th) General Assembly of the Association of Exporters- SEVE, Mr Diamantidis pointed out that “the project for the conversion of the former Gonou camp in western Thessaloniki into a logistics centre is progressing, the land use is being determined, technical and financial studies are being carried out”.
3,500 jobs, 300 million euros
The President of the Association of Exporters noted that the land concession is expected to be for a duration of 30 years. He also added that according to calculations, the establishment of the commercial center will “create” 3,500 job positions and will yield benefits of 300 million euros in terms of gross added value, with an internal rate of return of approximately 8%-10%.
As Mr Diamantidis pointed out, “the project will facilitate the export business and will be an incentive for export activity for new small and medium-sized enterprises, contributing
economic development of the city, with a focus on the port”.
The establishment of a contemporary Combined Transport Logistics Center in Thessaloniki, which involves creating top-notch storage facilities to bolster the nation’s position in the worldwide supply chain, has been deemed essential within the framework of both the National Strategic Transport Plan and the Supply Chain Strategy.
In this direction, the utilization of the former Gonou Camp, spanning an area of 673 acres and situated in the western part of the Thessaloniki Urban Complex, has been identified as a suitable solution. It falls within a broader region where all sectors of business coexist and operate in proximity to an extensive integrated transportation network.
The advantages of the former camp
The former Gonou camp, which has been selected, possesses all the advantages in terms of ownership and its strategic location, both for the port and the railway and road networks. This particular property is owned by the Ministry of National Economy and Finance.
It has been granted for use to GAIAOSE SA (universal successor of “Cargo Container Centers” of OSE) and it is located in a particularly strategic and pivotal position, creating favorable ground for the development of a Logistics Center that can play a broader strategic role in logistics, serving as a spearhead for the Balkan countries and markets.
Specifically, it is located near the Port of Thessaloniki (8.1 km), with easy access to the Egnatia Odos (3 km from the Kalochori and Ionia Diavaton interchanges), as well as major road arteries (1.5 km from the New National Road of Athens-Thessaloniki, the Inner Ring Road of Thessaloniki, and 650 meters from the National Road of Thessaloniki-Veroia/Monastiriou Street). Additionally, it is closely connected to the railway network, being in close proximity to the OSE Sorting Station and near the Freight Railway Station.
Also, in the wider area where the property is located, there is the Industrial Area (BI.PE.) of Sindos (5.5km), as well as the Informal Industrial Concentration (ABS) of Kalochori, where hundreds of business activities are located (transport and storage companies, industrial- manufacturing units, trade-wholesale, etc.).
The Project Preparation Facility – PPF of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund has undertaken the initiation of the necessary procedures for the development of the former Gonou Camp project (Phase A) and the conduct of a related competitive process for the concession of the Commercial and Intermodal Center (Phase B).
The necessary actions will be taken by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund with the together with a cunsultant, with the aim of securing the required approvals, licenses, and opinions for the planned development within the next two years, in order to achieve the maximum technical and urban maturity of the property in preparation for the competitive bidding process to be granted to a private investor.
Greece and logistics: from 42nd to 19th place
Greece, as highlighted in a recent event for the EU project CERBERUS, “due to its geopolitical location, has the potential to evolve into an international transport hub.” In recent years, there has been a significant improvement in infrastructure and supply chain processes in the domestic market, leading Greece to now rank 19th on the relevant World Bank list, compared to the 42nd position it held until recently. Large areas for the establishment of modern storage centers, infrastructure upgrades, and the creation of an airport exclusively for cargo transportation are considered to have the potential to significantly enhance the country’s position in this particular sector. The explosive growth in demand for logistics center spaces in Macedonia in recent years confirms that the logistics sector in Greece is constantly modernizing. It accounts for over 9% of the GDP and employs more than 200,000 workers.
The construction and operation of the Logistics Centre at the former Gonou Camp will be a pioneering project, which, in combination with the Thriasio Logistics Centre in Attica, will establish the country as a gateway for international freight transportation.
Gonou Logistics Center.
The Gonou Cargo Centre will expand the gates of the Greek market into the Balkans and will establish Thessaloniki and Northern Greece as a hub for international logistics and transportation, in line with international developments, with multiple benefits that will permeate throughout the national economy.
EDITOR: STELINA MARGARITIDOU- LINA TSINGANA
VERSION IN ENGLISH: LINA TSINGANA