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Country report: Slovakia

Industry and online shopping create a boom in the logistics sector

Slovakia, surrounded by Poland, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, is located in the heart of eastern Europe. This country of many green valleys is one of Germany’s most important trading partners.

Its population of more than 5.4 million people inhabit an area of around 49,000 square kilometres. The Carpathian mountains cross the northern half of the country, with the Danube plain spreading out in the south. Slovakia’s capital city, Bratislava, is situated in the border triangle with Hungary and Austria. The Republic of Slovakia came into being on 1st January 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia. The official language is Slovak. Slovakia has been a member of the European Union Since 2004, and has had the Euro since 2009. The country has been a party to the Schengen Agreement since 2007. According to their Foreign Office, gross domestic product (GDP) was around 79 billion Euros in 2016. This amounts to around 14,500 Euros per head.

Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland are some of the most important countries for exports. Slovakia imports goods mainly from Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Some of the most important economic sectors in the country in 2015 were industry (25.2%), travel and the hotel and catering trade (22%).

Logistics and transport

Slovakia has continuously expanded its infrastructure over the past few years. This is orientated towards the geography of the country with its numerous rivers and valleys. The first motorways were built in 1969, connecting the capital Bratislava in the west of the country with the city of Košic in the east. The whole network of roads and motorways amounts to around 55,000 kilometres. The country also has 3,600 kilometres of railway track, and 200 kilometres of waterways. In Slovakia there are eleven commercial ports and five international airports in total. Tolls have been charged on motorways and dual-carriageway roads since 1995. A motorway tax sticker is compulsory for vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes. For HGVs, on the other hand, a distance-based toll has been charged since 2010, which also includes some other roads. Because of the expansion of infrastructure, and the successful vehicle industry, the logistics sector in Slovakia is experiencing a boom. Demand in the retail sector and increased online shopping are also reasons for the rising demand for transport and warehousing services. Around 200 million tonnes of goods are transported annually in Slovakia.

In combined transport, the quantity transported has more than doubled since 2009. In 2015 for the first time more than five million tonnes were carried by at least two modes of transport. The most important logistics centres in Slovakia include the Bratislava Logistics Park (500,000 square metres of warehousing capacity), the Prologis Park Bratislava (322,000) and the Kosice Immopark (250,000). Many of the exported goods are organic food products. Milk, for example, is often exported to the Czech Republic, and ice cream to Germany. Vegetables are also a popular export category - particularly Sauerkraut! At the same time, this is one of the Slovaks’ favourite dishes. The country’s cuisine is strongly influenced by its neighbouring countries of Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. This is why it is not unusual to find a Slovakian variation of goulash or Wiener Schnitzel on the menu. Local dishes are mainly based on vegetables, pork, potatoes and dairy products. Slovak specialities such as the pastry “Trdelník” and Bryndza sheep’s milk cheese are covered by EU protected origin status (the quality mark to protect indications of origin and traditional products).

Typical Slovak cuisine

Sauerkraut and a type of dumpling, similar to Italian gnocchi, are typical dishes in Slovak cuisine. Lots of soups are popular too. Sauerkraut, bean, garlic and lentil soup are particularly popular Slovak dishes. The national dish of Slovakia is Bryndzové halušky (dumplings made of grated potato and sheep’s milk cheese). The ingredients are potato , bacon and Bryndza cheese. For dessert, the Slovaks like to bake Strudel and yeast cakes.

Nagel Slovensko

Nagel Slovensko was established in 2005 and is the Slovak national company of Nagel-Group. In a logistics centre in the city of Senec, which is close to Bratislava, it operates 15,000 square metres of handling and storing area. Other branches are located in Prešov and Banská Bystrica.

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