46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
Freight Villages are very widely used in the processes of trade and transport in Western Europe, Southeast Asia and the U.S.. Freight Villages are places that provide integrated services including the rationalization of trade flows, the combination of transport modes, added value logistics services, uninterrupted city distribution, decongestion of urban traffic etc. This paper attempts to examine the application of an agglomeration economies policy to the wide Balkan market, which is currently undergoing a phase of political and investing stability and of administrative reorganization. These elements will be further reinforced in the future with the accession of two Balkan states in the E.U., namely Bulgaria and Romania, and with the anticipated regularization of trade processes. This new environment undoubtedly favors the development of complex and well-designed trade infrastructures, such as Freight Villages, that are expected to have a strong influence on regional development and on the reduction of product distribution costs. The case of the Freight Village on the Greek – Bulgarian border at Promachonas in Serres is an interesting and original case study for the greater area. The first Freight Village in Greece, with the contribution of the private, public and EU capital has already been in operation since 2001, contributing to the rationalized management of trade flows, the development of cross-border trade, the provision of high quality services to consumers, the increase in employment and to the regional development of the degraded border area of Serres. The variables of the model are based on economic, social, commercial, environmental and other elements and statistical data, as well as on field research at the Freight Village and at the region. Finally, the paper reaches certain conclusions and makes a series of proposals. The conclusions refer to the degree and range of consequences of the Promachonas Freight Village to the regional development of Serres. The proposals refer to the development of a Balkan network of Freight Villages and other secondary transport infrastructures within the framework of the existing and scheduled Trans-European Networks (T.E.N.s), aiming at the regional development of the Balkans.