Border Crossings: Albania - Montenegro

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(Shkodër -) Bajzë HSH (- Hani i Hotit HSH) - Tuzi ŽCG (- Podgorica)

[D] The line opened in 1986 and the treaty concerning its construction limited it to freight use only. Traffic has been very erratic. It was closed in 1990 as part of UN sanctions on the then former Yugoslavia. It reopened briefly in 1997 but soon afterwards, during unrest in Albania, long sections of rail were stolen and smuggled out of the country for their scrap value. The cross-border section was reopened in 2002 and the link southwards to Shkodër rebuilt by 2003, using rails lifted from the Milot to Rreshen branch. A new treaty was signed to reopen the line in 1997 (and again in 2002/3?).

There is no station at the Hani i Hotit border crossing, border controls being carried out at either Tuzi or Bajzë. As at October 2019, the main freight traffic was scrap metal from Albania to Montenegro. More recently however the line in Albania has been subject to severe speed and weight restrictions and on the Montenegrin side has been reported to look very rusty, so traffic is assumed currently to be negligible.

The EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans published in October 2020 identified this route as one of their flagship investment priorities and planning work is in hand for the rehabilitation of the line. In February 2022 a funding package worth €267m in grants and loans was announced by the European Commission to support the rehabilitation of the line between Vorë and the border at Hani i Hotit. Another EU funding package worth around €38.5m is also being created for the upgrade of the section between Podgorica and Hani i Hotit. Work is expected to start in late 2023 and to take several years.

See also