This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 2/26/2018

Overview

Due to its position on the geographic borderline between the East and West, Serbia is often referred to as a gateway of Europe. Two important European corridors, VII – the River Danube and X – the international highway and railroad, intersect on the Serbian territory, providing excellent connections with Western Europe and the Middle East.  However, due to a serious lack of funding for new developments and general maintenance during last 25 years, the current situation in the sector is far below its potentials.  The current infrastructural network is consisted of the following transportation grids:

Roads

The road network of the Republic of Serbia is 40,845 km (25,380 miles) long, out of which 415.7 km (257 miles) of highways with toll collection, 246.5 km (153 miles) of semi-highways with toll collection, 5,525 km (3,433 miles) of arterial roads, 11,540 km (7,171 miles) of regional roads, and 23,780 km (14,776 miles) of local roads. 

Railroads

Transport of goods via railroad is very cost effective and through Pan European Corridors X and VII, Serbia offers an access to all European destinations. As in many countries, the railway system in Serbia suffered due to lack of investments in previous years, but serious efforts have been made by the Government of Serbia in order to restructure and modernize railway network in Serbia. Serbian Railways has signed contracts with 43 international forwarding companies and due to that, "shuttle" container trains started using Serbian railways for pan-European transport. Also, the maximum spindle capacity of the Serbian railways system is 22.5 t. Finally, the priority for the next period is the development of multimodal transportation (transition from road to railway and river transportation).

Air

Air transportation is the fastest and the most convenient way of transportation. Serbia can be reached by air using one of two available international airports in Serbia - Nikola Tesla Airport and Nis International Airport. An airport in Vrsac is currently being used only for domestic non-commercial flights, training and leisure aviation, while it is expected soon to be granted an international certification. Transportation by air to and from Belgrade is possible to almost every destination in the world, either directly or by layover.  Starting June 23, 2016, National Air carrier, Air Serbia, will introduce direct flights to New York City.

River

Serbia offers an outstanding potential when river transportation is concerned. A highly cost-effective way of transport can be pursued on three rivers giving a total of 959 km of safe navigable routes. 588 km of the International River Danube, represents the most reliable navigable route that can be used for transportation throughout the year. In addition, artificial canals Rhine-Main-Danube, an international canal that allows barge traffic between the North Sea and the Black Sea, and Danube-Tisa-Danube create a network of routes providing access to all Danube basin countries. The Sava River links the following countries in the region: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia, and it is in the process of gaining the status of International Navigable Route.
Infrastructure
Length of road network40.485 km
Length of railway network3.809 km
Length of navigable routes959 km
Number of private ports11
Number of intern. airports2

Leading Sub-Sectors

The pan-European Corridor 10 highways and railroads, along with the future highway informally called Corridor 11, which will run from Timisoara, Romania to Montenegro’s port of Bar, are priorities for Serbia’s infrastructure development.  The EU considers these corridors to be part of the core road and railway network that the region should develop.  Officials announced a plan to set aside USD 1.1 billion to improve infrastructure in the Western Balkans, including USD 110 million in grants under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).
Serbia intends to convert all of its military airfields, eight in total, into commercially managed airstrips.  The government also plans to invest nearly USD 550 million in inland waterways, mainly for environmental remediation and ordinance removal projects in the Danube River basin.
The state-owned railway company, Zeleznice Srbije, is planning to carry out infrastructure development and rolling stock projects worth EUR 2.5 billion, stated the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic.  The current value of the projects amounts to EUR 1.5 billion, while the construction of the Belgrade-Budapest railroad will increase the value by another approximately EUR 1 billion.USD 1.2 billion over the next three years.
The Serbian government and Belgrade authorities, in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates-based real estate developer Eagle Hills, are working on ambitious development project called Belgrade Waterfront.  Eagle Hills is expected to invest about USD 3.5 billion to build 1.8 million square meters of business, residential, cultural, and retail space in downtown Belgrade.
The parliament adopted a law on utility services, which is expected to draw private investment in this sector through PPPs as well as facilitate investments in the underdeveloped wastewater, sewerage, water supply, and waste management sectors.

Opportunities

Recent reforms in the legislation are performed not only to satisfy the requirements of the ongoing accession procedures to EU but also with the scope of changing the business environment and make the economy more efficient and eligible to foreign direct investments.  Two major improvements related to the infrastructure, are:
  • The new Law on Planning and Construction:  The introduction of an electronic system for issuing building permits is founded by the new Law on Planning and Construction, and as such represents one of the most important reform challenges faced by the Republic of Serbia in 2015.  The mentioned Law has entered the process of unified procedure in issuing all acts in the process of construction, and the application and the beginning of issuing electronic construction permits started on January 1, 2016 by the introduction of a functional system for the issuance of E-permits.
  • Methodology for Selection and Prioritization of Infrastructure Projects is part of the National priorities for international assistance (NAD) 2014-2017 with projections until 2020, adopted by the Government of the Republic of Serbia in November 2013
As a result of the Methodology, the ministry prepared the first Single Project Pipeline including 11 railway infrastructure projects, 5 road, three inland waterway projects, two air transport infrastructure projects one intermodal and one road/railway, making total of 23 projects.  Strategic relevance scoring is still being performed for one project.  For the complete list of projects, their rankings, and financing models, please visit our web page. 
The Government foresees the U.S. as a capable partner to cooperate with implementing a significant number of projects from the Single Project Pipeline. Under implementing we understand cooperation with US companies in preparation, construction and procurement (EPC Model) of certain projects, on one side, and a more comprehensive cooperation in full project implementation, which would include financing of the Project from US sources, on the other. 

Web Resources

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Serbia Design and Construction Services Trade Development and Promotion