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Belgrade, 08/04/2015

Zorana Mihajlović speaks on railways in Serbia for SEE Perspective

SEE Perspective received an opportunity to talk with the Serbian Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure. We asked her several questions concerning the state of the railways in Serbia, Ministry’s current efforts to improve it, and future plans for it.

‎1.       Government of Serbia announced that it will deal more with development of railway infrastructure in the upcoming period. Significant funds were assigned in the budget for that. What funds are those exactly and for which projects?

When we took over the Ministry, we found the situation that most of the projects were late, and that the previously granted credits for railway weren’t used. That is why our first task was to unblock these credits, such as Russian or Kuwait, and to speed up the realization of the projects.

The second task was to initiate reforms in Serbian Railways, so that the company would begin operating more efficiently and become capable to carry out large infrastructure projects which were assigned to it. I don’t need to remind that this is the first Government to essentially start this process.

Currently, there are eight projects in realization or preparation phase. After 40 years, Prokop will finally be finished, which is financed from the Kuwait credit, and the finish of construction works is planned for January 2016. Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry, the works on Žeželj bridge аre started again. The bridge itself is important not only for Novi Sad, but for the whole of Serbia, and will be an important part of the project for construction of the Belgrade-Budapest railway.

For the Belgrade-Budapest project, feasibility analysis is currently performed. The study will be completed in April, and the beginning of works is planned to happen until the end of this year.

The Russian credit is used to construct a second track of Belgrade Center – Pančevo Central railway, worth about 90 million USD. This project is progressing well. Russian credit is also intended for the reconstruction of six sections on Corridor X, total worth of approximately 89 million USD, as well as for the reconstruction and modernization of Stara Pazova – Novi Sad section, estimated worth of 450 million USD. Also, this loan includes the reconstruction and modernization of the Belgrade – Vrbnica (Bar) railway, total estimated value of about 200 million USD and the procurement of diesel engine trains, worth about 100 million USD.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is financing Corridor X project with 100 million EUR, which, among others, includes delivery of new materials for rehabilitation of six railway sections, new mechanization for maintenance, as well as procurement of 15 new multi-system locomotives. Also, for the rehabilitation of railways, EBRD granted additional 95 million USD. Credit of European Investment Bank worth 80 million EUR is used to finance the reconstruction and modernization of Batajnica-Golubinci section and reconstruction of Gilje-Ćuprija-Paraćin section, including the construction of the bridge across the Great Morava river. The negotiations concerning the signing of the agreement for reconstruction and modernisation of Niš-Dimitrovgrad railway, worth about 55 million EUR, are also in the final stage.

(Rest of the interview can be found in issue 6 of SEE Perspective magazine –