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Thessaloniki Port’s Nine-Month Cargo Rises 19% on Balkan Traffic

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The port of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-biggest, handled 19 percent more cargo in the first nine months of the year as shipments to and from Balkan markets increased.

Total dry bulk, general cargo, cement and liquid fuel shipments passing through the port, which markets itself as a gateway to the Balkans, rose to more than 10.5 million metric tons in the nine months from 8.8 million in the same period of 2011, according to a statement on Thessaloniki Port Authority SA’s website.

The volume of dry bulk and general cargo alone increased more than 13 percent to more than 5.3 million tons, boosted by cargo in transit to or from Greece’s northern neighbors that have little or no coastline, such as Serbia.

The number of cargo containers handled at Thessaloniki increased 1 percent to 220,502, while passengers on ships using the port fell 22 percent to fewer than 45,000.

The government plans to sell stakes in Thessaloniki and Piraeus ports as part of a program of state asset sales.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Tugwell in Athens at ptugwell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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