Never before in our history have we had as many construction sites and contracted jobs as we have today. During these times of modernisation and the construction of infrastructure in Serbia, CIP is one of the most important participants, both as a project designer and an expert works supervisor
The Institute of Transportation CIP employs more than 500 experts of all profiles and is the only company in the region that designs railway infrastructure. Founded as far back as 1881, it is this year commemorating 141 years of work on conducting studies, designing and supervising railway construction works in Serbia and across the former Yugoslavia.
With a tradition dating back almost a century and a half, CIP’s experts have created monuments of architectural knowhow on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, but also abroad.
We began this interview by asking CIP Managing Director Milutin Ignjatović which projects he would single out as being the most important today.
“Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, CIP is designing modern, high-speed railway lines, which represent a major leap in the history of designing and installing rail tracks for trains of speeds of 200 kph that will connect Serbia with most European countries. When it comes to railways, I would emphasise in particular the Belgrade-Budapest railway project,” says Ignjatović, continuing: “This is the most important strategic project of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the biggest project in CIP’s history, which makes us very proud.”
For the needs of this large project, CIP engaged top expert engineers and prepared complete planning and technical documentation with its partners for the 183km-long section of the line from Belgrade’s central station to the Hungarian border, encompassing the railway junctions of Novi Sad and Subotica.
“The ceremonial opening of this ‘masterpiece’ of construction that is the railway from Belgrade to Novi Sad was held on 19th March 2022, with which we gained the most modern railway in Southeast Europe,” notes CorD’s interlocutor.
Which period of our past is comparable to today when it comes to the number and value of the projects in which you’re currently participating?
It is evident that we’ve never before in our history had as many construction sites and contracted works as we have today. During these times of the modernisation and construction of infrastructure in Serbia, CIP is one of the most important participants, both as a project designer and an expert works supervisor.
In earlier times, CIP designed almost all structures and facilities that were built in Serbia, whether that was railways, roads, highways, hospitals, schools, sports complexes and cultural facilities.
CIP’s experts designed and supervised construction works on around 3,000 km of railways, complete with stations and large railway junctions, across the former Yugoslavia, and here we would single out the Sarajevo-Ploče and Belgrade-Bar railways, as well as the junction hubs of Novi Sad, Skopje and Belgrade.
Other rail infrastructure built according to CIP projects incudes the two-track section of the Gilje-Ćuprija-Paraćin railway, with a bridge over the Velika Morava along the Belgrade-Niš railway that’s capable of speeds of up to 160kph, the second track from the Pančevo bridge to Pančevo, with a bridge over the river Tamiš, as well as the main refit of six sections of the railway route of Corridor 10, covering a total length of 112km, and on an approximately 78km-long section of the Belgrade-Bar railway.
The “Northern Tangent” in Belgrade was completed with Pupin’s Bridge over the Danube, the Surčin-Obrenovac section of Highway E-763, covering a length of around 17.6 km, together with a 1,600-metre-long bridge over the Sava and Kolubara rivers, and the Ub-Lajkovac and Takovo-Preljina sections. CIP also designed the majority of sections along Corridor 10’s Highway E-75 (Niš-Skopje), as well as Highway E-80 along Corridor 10c (Niš-Bulgarian border).
CIP also carried out the preparation of planning documentation and the preliminary design concept for Highway E-761, the so-called ‘Moravian corridor’, with the 80-km-long Pojate-Kruševac-Adrani section.
It was also according to a CIP project that the road bridge over the Drina between Ljubovija and Bratunac was built, thus connecting Serbia and Republika Srpska with a joint border crossing.
Furthermore, CIP also prepared technical documentation for the Batrovci border crossing and the expansion of the Horgoš border crossing.
My vision is for CIP, in the near future, to be ranked among the world’s most important construction companies; a company that will bring together the best expert personnel and produce the best design projects
It is also thanks to CIP projects that all of Belgrade’s modern tram lines have been installed and reconstructed for decades.
I would also highlight in particular the unique Avala Tower: the 203-metre-tall symbol of Belgrade that was destroyed in the NATO bombing of 1999 and rebuilt according to a CIP project and under CIP’s expert supervision.
We shouldn’t overlook the many structures that were reconstructed following NATO aggression, especially the bridges in Novi Sad – the Varadin Rainbow Bridge and the temporary, prefabricated rail-road bridge that was built in just 120 days.
CIP has also prepared project design documentation for the most important residential and business complexes in Belgrade, of which we would particularly emphasise the University settlement in Blok 32, the largest part of the Stepa Stepanović residential and business complex, with more than 4,600 apartments and all associated infrastructure, as well as for the residential complex in Ovča where works are underway.
We were also the first in Serbia to design a facility for the National Gamma Centre, under the auspices of the Clinical Centre of Serbia, which has since been constructed and made operational. We should also highlight the project of the unique House of Football in Stara Pazova, the reconstruction of Tašmajdan Stadium, Zeleni Venac Market in Belgrade etc.
Your portfolio includes some of the most important projects in Belgrade, such as the new Sava Bridge and new railway and bus stations. How will their implementation change the look of Belgrade?
Belgrade is already among the world’s most beautiful metropolises. When all the projects planned and launched have been completed, Belgrade will be unrecognisable. Here I’m referring primarily to the completion of the Belgrade Waterfront project, as well as the implementation of the projects of Institute of Transportation, CIP: construction of a new Sava Bridge on the site of the existing tram bridge; construction of a new bus station in New Belgrade; construction of a new railway station in New Belgrade and completion of the construction of the Belgrade Centre railway station in Prokop. All these projects will relieve traffic congestion in the capital, ease the everyday lives of Belgraders and render Belgrade even more beautiful.
The Belgrade Centre railway station in Prokop has been designed as the main rail hub passenger station, where Corridor 10 lines from the directions of Subotica, Šid and Niš intersect, then the Belgrade-Bar line and the route from Vrsaš.
The new bus station in New Belgrade’s Blok 42, with its 65 platforms, will be integrated with the New Belgrade railway station to form a unique interchange.
For New Sava Bridge, which satisfies all traffic, technical, architectural and environmental requirements, CIP prepared its Preliminary Design Concept as the winner of the first prize in the anonymous design contest to design the new bridge over the river Sava, to be located on the site of the existing tram bridge. It is planned for this bridge to cater for both rail and road traffic, with sections for pedestrian and bicycle traffic on both sides.
It is also vital for the Serbian capital to complete the Belgrade Bypass, because that would permanently solve traffic congestion, while shifting the transport of hazardous and volatile substances away from central Belgrade.
These kinds of jobs demand concentrated technical knowhow and a team of top experts ready to find the most rational solutions for the most complex projects. Given the workforce shortages confronting Serbia, to what extent do you succeed in retaining established experts and enticing talented youngsters?
You’re right. For the first time in the more recent Serbian history, we have a labour shortage problem. The reason for that is that we’ve launched major infrastructure projects the likes of which we could only have dreamt of in the past. And CIP has managed, despite the difficulties, to retain its expert personnel and the highest quality engineers, because it invests the maximum in the advanced training and educating of employees, working conditions and a technically equipped, healthy and professional working environment. We have the most modern equipment and software for work, and we encourage employees to learn, improve their skills and progress.
We have an increasingly globalised and interconnected market, where competition is constantly on the rise. What are the most important prerequisites for CIP to remain among the world’s top project design companies?
The most important precondition for the continued development of CIP is for the state to maintain this kind of economic development, to continue implementing planned projects and contracting new jobs, and to maintain a state of peace and stability, which represent the most important prerequisites for the prosperity of every company and individual. CIP succeeded in carving out its position even during the most difficult conditions, so I have no doubt about our future.
With over a century of tradition, Institute of Transportation CIP is today a leading research, design and consulting company in Serbia and Southeast Europe.
We have the most modern equipment and software for work, and we encourage employees to learn, improve their skills and progress
Institute of Transportation CIP successfully carries out all design activities, such as geodetic works, geological research, laboratory tests in the field of environmental protection, preparation of study, planning and technical documentation, professional and technical checking of technical documentation, testing of structures, professional supervision during construction, technical inspection of buildings, engineering consulting services.
With a staff of over 500 and over 300 experts licensed by the Serbian Chamber of Engineers and the Republic Geodetic Authority, Institute of Transportation CIP is a reliable partner to state institutions, faculties, local and foreign companies. It has modern equipment and software for design, geodetic surveys and geotechnical research.
In more than 140 years of business, CIP has remained synonymous with a high concentration of technical knowledge and a team of top experts who are ready to find the most rational solutions to the most complex projects.
The result of decades of successful work by CIP in the country and abroad is more than 8,000 kilometres of designed, built and reconstructed railways, 25 major railway junctions, more than 2,000 kilometres of roads and motorways, 1,200 bridges, 550 tunnels and underground facilities for various purposes and more than a million square metres of health, cultural, business, residential, sports and industrial facilities.
The CIP is designing modern high-speed railways, a major leap in the history of the design and construction of railways with train speeds of 200 km/h and with which Serbia will connect to most European countries.
An optimal combination of many years of tradition and experience, following global achievements and trends, Institute of Transportation CIP has become a formula for business, quality, speed and trust, and has remained at the top of the list of the world’s engineering design companies.
We have no real competition, because we carry out almost all of the largest and most important projects in Serbia, which require licenses, knowhow and experience that only we possess
The Belgrade-Budapest railway project is the most important strategic project of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the biggest project in CIP’s history, which makes us very proud
In accordance with the state’s priorities, CIP continues to work intensively with its partners on the designing of highways and expressways