With the increased presence of Chinese companies and major growth of Chinese investments in Serbia in the period ahead, we also expect a significant increase in goods trading between the two countries, as well as our company’s establishing of new services, says Vladimir Lekić, general manager at Dragon Maritime SEE.
Your company, as the general representative and agent of Cosco Shipping – China’s largest shipping company, has eased the transport of goods to and from Serbia significantly. To what extent will this contribute to deepening collaboration between Serbia and China?
– Following the successful development of intermodal services between the Port of Piraeus and the countries of central Europe, Cosco Shipping launched a regular rail link between Piraeus and Belgrade in May 2017. Having gained a direct link to the main Chinese ports, Serbia is becoming the first Balkan country with such a service, while Belgrade is becoming a regional hub for the development of intermodal transport across the region.
Thanks to its geostrategic position along Corridor 10, Serbia plays a key role in the development of the “New Silk Road” by providing the most efficient transit route that’s traversed annually by more than 1,000 Cosco Shipping container trains, while the current project to construct a high-speed railroad between Belgrade and Budapest will significantly increase the flow of cargo and enable faster transit times compared to traditional transport routes via Adriatic and North Sea ports.
With the selection of the most efficient services, clients can rely on an average transit time of 25 to 30 days along the entire transport route from main Chinese ports to Belgrade
The huge “One Belt, One Road” global project will increase economic activity and the trade exchange between the two countries. What does your company expect from the Serbian market?
– Cosco Shipping is recording growth of more than 70 per cent on the Serbian market and is also present with all services and transport routes of our company. With the increased presence of Chinese companies and major growth of Chinese investments in Serbia in the period ahead, we also expect a significant increase in goods trading between the two countries, as well as our company’s establishing of new services. Cosco attaches great importance to the development of intermodal terminals, i.e. so-called dry ports, which is why there is great interest in establishing them at different locations in Serbia, which will provide an additional boost to economic activity and strengthen Serbia’s role in the strategic “One Belt, One Road” project.
A regular service from the Port of Piraeus to Dobanovci was launched two years ago, which provided Serbia with a direct connection to China’s main ports. What are the main advantages of this service compared to other transport routes?
– This unique service represents the most serious alternative to traditional container shipment routes via Adriatic ports, offering the shortest transit time on the Western Balkan market, as well as very affordable freight rates. Thanks to the high frequency of connections between ports of the Far East and the Port of Piraeus, clients have the option of selecting up to five weekly services with various transit times. Complete transport between loading ports and Belgrade, or in the opposite direction for exports, is covered by the Bill of Lading of Cosco Shipping company.