The government considers the MFIC’s role very seriously and respects the work of the council at a very high level, as one of the most credible business associations in Montenegro. I’m unfortunately unable to confirm the same when it comes to the relationship between the Government, or more precisely the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs, and Ocean Montenegro
Maritime affairs is a branch of industry in which the degree of business success depends largely on the ability to adapt quickly to situations. Of course, the global challenge of COVID- 19 has not bypassed our company either – says Nela Vitić, CEO of Ocean Montenegro.
Following the declaring of the epidemic, the Montenegrin government opted to keep the Port of Bar open to international maritime traffic. “Unlike some activities, this enabled us to continue providing services without hindrance, but due to the nature of our work it was not possible to replace ‘work from the office’ with ‘work from home’. Considering that Ocean Montenegro deals in activities of public interest, which implies the guaranteeing of an uninterrupted service at the level of 24/7/365 to all users and without exceptions, the aforementioned crisis has brought us a new challenge – providing a public service under extraordinary circumstances,” explains our interlocutor.
“The fact is that over the past decade we’ve raised the standards of the securing of port services in Bar to the world level. And with that we are obliged to maintain a high level of quality of services and professionalism, with an additional emphasis on the safety and protection of our employees, as the company’s most valuable resource,” says Vitić.
“On the other hand, I consider that the status of a secure partner of the Government of Montenegro is also justified through the company’s social policy, which we also harmonised to address the current challenges and thus provided support to the local administration. Our aim is to preserve a positive spirit within the company and additionally motivate employees through various training courses, education and specialisations with an emphasis on digitisation, which we would not be able to dedicate ourselves to the same extent under normal circumstances,” notes our interlocutor.
I can proudly state that we are among the few companies that didn’t implement a redundancy programme or reduce employees’ salaries, despite significant declines in the volume of work
How satisfied are you with the quality of dialogue between foreign investors and the Government of Montenegro generally?
– The government considers the MFIC’s role very seriously and respects the work of the council at a very high level, as one of the most credible business associations in Montenegro. This is reflected in the public-private dialogue and our active participation in the Competitiveness Council, but also in the participation of all working bodies in the drafting of laws, strategies and other acts that are important for the Montenegrin economy.
I’m unfortunately unable to confirm the same when it comes to the relationship between the Government, or more precisely the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs, and Ocean Montenegro. Even despite the recommendations of European institutions warning that it is extremely risky for the safety of maritime navigation in the Port of Bar to award more concessions for maritime transport services, especially given the constant downward trend in the number of ships docking over the last six years, and at a juncture when the maritime economy is suffering additionally, which is also further reflected on our port, the Ministry is awarding two more concessions for the provision of the same services that are provided by our company.
Of course, we will not allow such decisions to demotivate us, regardless of how unacceptable they may be. We certainly remain consistent to our own criteria.