Wood has been appointed by the World Bank to assess the potential of shifting freight movements in the Western Balkans to alternate forms of transport including rail and inland waterways.

In the Western Balkans region, most freight is currently transported via roads that are susceptible to climatic events, resulting in delays at crossings. As well as industrial output, communities in the region are also increasingly reliant on this transport network to carry out their daily activities.

The delivery team will blend specialist skills from Wood’s climate resilience, transport, economics and geographic information system (GIS) mapping teams. Alongside consultation with local freight associations, Wood will undertake a financial and socio-economic environmental feasibility assessment of several inter-modal terminal investments.

This assignment builds on an existing study that Wood is carrying out on behalf of the World Bank, that considers the impact and severity of climatic events and natural disasters on the resilience of the strategic road network in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. The outputs from the project are being used to show policy and decision-makers the key priority roads that require further resilience investment.

Rob Brown, President of Wood’s environment & infrastructure solutions business in Europe, said: “Across the Western Balkans region, much of the transport infrastructure is ageing and struggling to cope with population growth, weather related events, and the increased freight volumes using the network. With budgets constrained, any investment needs to be targeted in the right areas. Wood is delighted to work with the World Bank on these studies which will ultimately help to improve trade and economic performance and make a real difference to the communities in this region.”

Romain Pison, Transport Lead at the World Bank, added: ‘“Through the previous resilience study, Wood demonstrated a real understanding of the serious issues affecting the strategic regional road network and a pragmatic, robust approach to understanding pinch points on the network. We now look forward to utilising their expertise as we extend our assessment to the wider freight intermodal network.”