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Mihajlovic: We are returning our rivers to the European corridor map

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, prof. Zorana Mihajlovic PhD., said today, at the opening of the Business Forum of Republic of Serbia-Russian Federation, that the development of water transport and investments implemented by the state are important incentives for economic growth and opportunities for new businesses for companies operating in this field.
"Water transport is no longer off the side because the Government of Serbia invests more than 300 million euros in water transport, and the total investments amount to about 500 million euros, if we include private sector investments. New ports will be built in Belgrade, Sremska Mitrovica and Bogojevo, reconstructions of ship locks at HPP "Djerdap 1" and HPP "Djerdap 2" will be carried out, also on Tisa, and we will enable our rivers to be floating throughout the year, " said Mihajlovic.


She pointed out that Serbia's relations with the Russian Federation are not only friendly, but good bilateral relations, good relations between the two presidents, which is reflected in the economic indicators. "We already have successful cooperation with the Russian Railways and we want to further expand this cooperation," she added.
Speaking about water transport, Mihajlovic said that the disastrous data for those who had previously dealt with water transport that there were nine or ten shipyards before 2000, and today less than half of shipyards that existed in 2000 exist now. "Back in the day, 6,000 people worked in shipbuilding, today that number is around 900. Tradition exists, but tradition is not enough if there is no new knowledge and capital," she said.
She added that 7.5 million tons of goods were transported via Danube and Sava in 2015, by the end of 2019 it is expected that 12 million tons of goods will be transported, and that the goal is to increase to 15 million tons in the coming years. "This speaks in favor of slowly returning our water transport to the map of European transport corridors," said Deputy Prime Minister.


Within the framework of the forum in Belgrade, attended by about 50 Serbian and Russian companies, with Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, Mr. Oleg Rjazancev, Mihajlovic signed a Memorandum of Understanding between this Ministry and the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of Serbia on cooperation in the field of trade shipbuilding.
Rjazancev said that the trade between the two countries last year amounted to almost two billion dollars and that there are great potentials for the development of economic cooperation in the sphere of shipping. "Serbia pays great attention to the development of water transport, and we are ready to support it, to present our projects and offer various forms of cooperation, including the localization of our production in Serbian shipyards," said Rjazancev.   


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Rasim Ljajic, said that the greatest benefit from cooperation in the field of river transport and shipbuilding could be tourism, where the goal is to increase the number of Russian tourists to 100,000 by 2020, from the expected about 70,000 this year. "Our goal is to expand our tourist offer, including the Danube River as one of the most attractive destinations in Europe and further develop nautical tourism," said Ljajic.
President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Marko Cadez, said that there are great opportunities for cooperation in the field of water transport, especially taking into account the investments of the Government of Serbia in the development of river infrastructure and especially the port. "From the perspective of the economy, this is a great opportunity for connecting Serbian and Russian companies in the reconstruction of port infrastructure, as well as the modernization of the fleet," said Cadez.