Albania Industries and Trade

By | December 15, 2021

The same reasons just mentioned explain the poor development of real industries in the country. Apart from those strictly connected with agriculture, already mentioned (dairy, oil mill), and some others (pasta), we can remember the manufacture of cigarettes (Scutari, Durazzo), that of terracottas (Kavajë) and more recent printing industry (Tirana). The old domestic industries (silver and gold work, fabrication of drapes, gold contexts, wood carvings, etc.) have migrated outside the borders of the present state (such as goldsmithing, centered in Prizren, etc.)), that is, they have decayed, and also the silk factory in Shkodra, which was already a center of export of silk, important for the whole western part of the Balkan Peninsula.

For future industrial development, Albania could count – as compensation for the scarcity of fossil fuels – on considerable reserves of hydraulic energy. Indeed, in the absence of systematic observations and investigations, they are evaluated differently; from 25 to 40,000 HP for the Devoll River, from 10 to 20,000 for the Drin, about 5000 each for the Shkumbî and Arzen. So far there is also no principle of use. For Albania business, please check

The mountainous character of the terrain and the consequent difficulty in passing from one to the other of the major transversal valleys, the isolated life that, at least until a few years ago, led some populations of Albania, segregated in their closed cantons, explain how the internal traffic in Albania is still very little developed. While the country has no railway so far (however, the works of the short section that will connect Tirana with its port Durres are underway, by the Italian company SVEA), it is only now acquiring a considerable network of rolling roads. During the war, a good road network was built by Italy in southern Albania, while in northern Albania the Austria carried out the road junction of Durres and Tirana with Scutari and the Montenegrin border. In 1922 the rolling stock built totaled 920 km. The program formulated in 1921 by the Albanian government contemplates 2300 km. of roads, of which about 400 were built between 1923 and 1927; all the rolling stock built so far are indicated in the attached map. Among the roads of the south, of Italian construction, the main one is the magnificent road that from the port of Santi Quaranta, to Delvino, reaches the Greek border at the Dhrino river and after a short journey in Greek territory it re-enters Albania at Perat, touches Leskovik and di here it goes as far as Còrizza; Vlora is also connected to it by the road that goes up the Voiussa to Tepeleni and then forks on one side to Gjirokastra, on the other to Prëmet. Prëmet can also be reached from Berat by a road that surmounts the watershed between Osum and Voiussa, climbing up to 1000 m. Another great road, built by the Italians during the war and full of works of art, connects Valona directly with Santi Quaranta through the Chimara. Còrizza is joined to Pogradec on Lake Ochrida, by a road that will shortly be extended to Elbasan. In the N. the most important arteries are those that connect Scutari with Croia and Tirana, Tirana with Durazzo, and, for Kavajë and the Shkumbî valley, also with Elbasan. Shkodra is also linked by road to the mining area of ​​Puka, to S. Giovanni di Medua and to the Montenegrin border. The two groups of roads just mentioned are connected, through central Albania, only from the long road that from Kavajë to Lushnjë leads to Berat and from Fieri to Valona. In these roads the traffic with vehicles becomes more active year after year, but nevertheless the relations between the north and the south of Albania are still scarce and slow and this explains how for example. from Valona oil is exported to Italy, while Scutari has to import it; the opposite happens for the skins. The traffic with mules along the steep and winding mountain paths, that with carts pulled by oxen or buffaloes, in the plains, are still very widespread. The air service Tirana-Shkodra, Tirana-Valona and Tirana-Còrizza (2 hours) today serves the rapid movement of travelers, entrusted to the Italian company SVEA, which also operates the Brindisi-Tirana line. Albania has about 2200 km. telegraph network and 75 post and telegraph offices,

Foreign trade shows that, if Albania is still far from having achieved a stable economic organization, it is also on the way to a decisive ascension. In fact in 1920 – the first year for which reliable statistics are available – exports totaled 1,522,000 francs. gold, imports at 17,533,000, with a percentage of the former over the latter less than 9%; in 1925, exports had risen to 17,123,000 francs. gold, imports to 21,800,000 with a percentage of more than 78%; in 1926 the relative figures were 11,964,000 francs. gold, and 24,564,000 francs. gold: the deterioration is due to the poor oil harvest. As already said, Albania exports above all olives and oil, and in good years also corn and sometimes wheat; but exports are influenced by the very strong fluctuations in harvests from one year to the next, so for example. in bad years, cereals must also be imported. The export of livestock products is in better conditions – live cattle (about 2,700,000 gold francs in 1925), wool, skins, eggs, meat, cheeses (just under 6 1 / 2 million SFr. gold in 1923) – much less subject to fluctuations. These are in fact the products that give the residents the safest means of purchasing the missing goods in the village; which gives a measure of the importance of livestock farming in the general economy. It must be imported especially food, such as sugar, coffee and other colonial (about 3 1 / million francs gold), besides rice and also other cereals, since, as already mentioned, a part of the products of the south prefer to go abroad, rather than go to meet the needs of the north, as long as the difficulty of internal communications lasts; however the import of agricultural products generally decreases from year to year. But mostly importing manufactured articles: tissue (first teased line: over 6 1 / million francs gold in recent years; woolen and silk factories follow at a great distance), glassware, porcelain, metals and metal objects, machines and tools, paper, etc. At the head of foreign trade is Italy by far, which absorbs over 75% of imports and 50-55% of exports (1925-26). From a great distance come Greece, Yugoslavia, England; traffic with France, Bulgaria, Turkey, etc. it is almost insignificant. The ports of greatest movement are, in descending order: Durazzo, Santi Quaranta and Valona; S. Giovanni di Medua and Porto Palermo also have some importance (see for each one under the respective entries).

The maritime services with Albania are exercised by Italy. For now, there is a twice-weekly Bari-Durazzo direct line (12 hours) and two coastal lines, one of which touches the ports of Antivari, S. Giovanni di Medua, Durazzo and Valona to head to Brindisi; the other connects the Albanian ports themselves and also the southernmost one of Santi Quaranta, on one side with the upper Adriatic, on the other with Bari and Corfu. The lines are operated by the shipping company “Puglia”, which also carries out navigation on the Boiana from the mouth to Scutari (23 miles) with special steam boats.

Albania would acquire considerable importance as a transit country for Balkan trade on the day when cross railways were built, connecting its ports with the Ochrida and Prespa lakes region, a region that is in easy connection with Thessaloniki and the SE Balkan. Two of these lines were mainly proposed: one from Durres to Elbasan and the Shkumbî valley, and the other from Valona, ​​or from Santi Quaranta to the Còrizza basin. The latter, which would also have the advantage of crossing some of the country’s most productive regions, should be preferred in the near future. The connection of Shkodra and the Drin valley with the Yugoslav railway network appears more difficult, if only for technical reasons.

Monetary circulation is entrusted to the National Bank of Albania founded on 2 September 1925 in Rome, with a capital of 12.5 million gold francs, mostly supplied by Italian credit institutions; this bank is the only one authorized to issue banknotes and coins, it carries out the treasury service on behalf of the government and in general all bank operations; therefore it has a very important function in the economic and legal field. The current currency is the Albanian gold franc (0.2903 gr. Of fine gold), which is divided into five lek; it is regularly listed on the Trieste and Milan stock exchanges and is also traded in some foreign markets.

The other measurements in progress in Albania (linear, surface, weight, etc.) are based on the metric system.

Albania Trade