Serbia’s Port Governance Agency completed the first two phases of arranging port activities during the previous period. The first phase included the declaring of the port areas of cargo ports and international passenger terminals, while the second phase encompassed the preparing of technical documentation for the expansion of ports and the construction of new terminals, while the Agency is now awaited by the third phase – investing in construction
Considering the importance of cruising when it comes to presenting Serbia to foreign tourists, we are working proactively on the restoration of passenger transport on the rivers. In addition to utilising the opportunities provided to cruise enthusiasts by the Danube, we will also launch the construction and promotion of destinations on the Sava, with the opening of passenger terminals in Sremska Mitrovica and Šabac. And in parallel with that we will also continue to develop marinas, which have great potential to complete the nautical tourism offer, announces Port Governance Agency Director Vuk Perović in this interview.
Quantities of transshipped cargo and the volume of passenger traffic on rivers in Serbia have been on the rise for the last five years. Has the pandemic spoilt those results?
The unfortunate global epidemiological situation hasn’t had a detrimental impact on freight traffic. For the fifth consecutive year we’ve recorded increased quantities of transshipments of goods on rivers in Serbia. Last year saw 16 million tons of cargo transshipped, which is five per cent more than in 2019. These good results were achieved thanks to the intensified activities of the Serbian economy, especially in the area of construction. It is important for us to highlight the fact that our country ranks second in the Danube region in terms of the annual volume of transshipments.
When it comes to passenger transport, the pandemic resulted in the suspending of cruises throughout Europe, which has also impacted Serbia. Compared to the 2019 nautical season, only one per cent of the volume of cruising was realised last year.
We will launch the construction and promotion of destinations on the Sava, with the opening of passenger terminals in Sremska Mitrovica and Šabac
Is the development and expansion of existing cargo ports, and the construction of new ones, among the priorities of the Port Governance Agency?
The growth of cargo transshipments indicates to us that it is necessary to intensify the development of ports. The efforts of the Serbian Government aimed at improving inland waterway transport and the investment plan in this area will contribute to achieving the objective of Serbian ports becoming competitive and important economic hubs in Southeast Europe. This leads to trade, industry and production in the hinterland being stimulated, thus bringing new jobs and regional development.
The Agency has completed the first two phases of arranging port activities, while ahead of us is the third and most important phase – investing in construction. In accordance with the developmental role of the Agency, we’ve planned investments in infrastructure projects. We thereby want to improve the port infrastructure, increase the throughput capacity of our ports and strengthen their position on the international market.
How many international passenger terminals do we currently have and do they, like marinas, represent a new development opportunity and an important segment of inland waterway passenger transport in Serbia?
I’m proud of the fact that we’ve made six international passenger terminals on the Danube operational during the previous period. During the course of this year, despite the pandemic, we plan to open new ones, and those are in Zemun, Sremski Karlovci, Veliko Gradiste (Ram), Apatin and Kostolac. Our goal is to declare the remaining port areas of international passenger terminals in the next two years and invest resources in their construction.
We are continuing with the development of marinas, which have great potential to complete the nautical tourism offer. We’ve started defining the network of marinas on the Danube and Sava rivers, where we are considering attractive locations that will entice tourists who would visit Serbia on their voyages.