Sunday, 31 October 2021

Mayor Says PM Blocking Split’s Development, Ministry Refutes It

ZAGREB, 31 Oct, 2021 - Split Mayor Ivica Puljak called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Sunday to "stop blocking the development" of Split, while the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure dismissed such a claim and reminded him of the projects that have been launched.

Speaking of the granting of a concession for the city's Žnjan beach, Puljak told N1 television that Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković had said on a number of occasions that, as far as the ministry was concerned, everything was ready and that it was forwarded to Plenković to put it on the government's agenda.

"I invite Prime Minister Plenković... to finally decide who will get the concession so that the project can really be realised. I hope the concession will go to the Žnjan d.o.o. company, which is a city company, and that we will start realising that project," Puljak said, adding that the realisation was almost six months late.

"I think Plenković should stop blocking the development of the City of Split and that he should move away from cheap politics. He should realise that they lost this election, he should get over it in a way and he really must not hold this city back any longer. I think the problem now is him," Puljak said, referring to Plenković's HDZ party and local elections this past May.

The Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure said Puljak's claims that Plenković was blocking Split's development by allegedly procrastinating with a decision on the Žnjan concession were "entirely unfounded and incorrect."

The granting of said concession passed regular government procedure and the opinions of the relevant state bodies are now being collected so that a decision on who will get the concession can be made, the ministry said.

It added that the Plenković cabinet was doing everything for Split to develop as much as possible, and mentioned the transport projects that have been launched as well as a HRK 42.6 million reconstruction project in the city port.

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Monday, 4 October 2021

Minister: We Want Rijeka to Become the Strongest Port in This Part of the Adriatic

RIJEKA, 4 Oct 2021 - Transport Minister Oleg Butković said on Monday that Rijeka would be one of the cities that could boast the good road and rail infrastructure and that efforts were being invested in making Rijeka the strongest port in this part of the Adriatic.

After meeting with Rijeka Mayor Marko Filipović, Minister Butković said that the meeting was constructive and that large-scale projects in Rijeka and in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County were progressing well.

He announced a tender for a double-track railway line running through Rijeka, a €330 million project, which would be advertised in 2022.

"That project will complete the D 404 road, which connects the eastern part of Rijeka port with the city ring road and D 403. It then connects the Zagrebačka Obala container terminal with the ring road and future road from the Zagrebačka Obala terminal to Žabice. It will close the ring road around Rijeka as far as road infrastructure is concerned and Rijeka will be one of the few cities to have resolved its road and rail infrastructure, that is, all of its problems," he underscored.

The officials discussed the construction of the new bus station in Rijeka and Butković said that the funds for that purpose had been ensured.

The minister and the mayor also discussed the construction of several road junctions, roundabouts, and how preparations and financing for the projects were going on.

Butković informed that currently about HRK 25 billion was being invested in transport infrastructure throughout Croatia.

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Friday, 30 July 2021

Deal on Construction of Road Connecting D403 Road and Rijeka Port Signed

ZAGREB, 30 July 2021 - A contract on the construction of a road connecting the D-403 state road and the port in the northern Adriatic city of Rijeka, worth HRK 32.2 million, was signed in the offices of the Rijeka Port Authority on Friday.

Also signed was a contract on the supervision of construction work, worth HRK 837,500.

The D403 road is a planned 2.5 km state road connecting the A7 motorway Škurinje interchange with the centre of the city of Rijeka and the Port of Rijeka West Terminal.

The construction contract was signed with the Krk-based company GP Krk, following a public tender.

The head of the Rijeka Port Authority, Denis Vukorepa, said the 300-day deadline for the completion of the construction started running today.

The contract on the supervision of construction work was signed with the IN Stria company.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković said the government's support to the development of the Rijeka port and the local road infrastructure was unquestionable.

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Sunday, 18 July 2021

Oleg Butkovic Proposes Croatia-Albania Ferry Line Between Zadar and Durres

July the 18th, 2021 - Maritime Affairs Minister Oleg Butkovic has been in nearby Albania recently, more precisely in Tirana, where the suggestion to introduce a Croatia-Albania ferry line between the Croatian port of Zadar and the Albanian port of Durres was proposed.

As Morski writes, earlier this week, Minister Oleg Butkovic paid an official visit to the Republic of Albania, where he met with Belinda Belluku, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy of the Republic of Albania, and Blendi Klosi, Minister of Tourism and Environmental Protection.

At the meeting with the Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, all key issues of transport connectivity, the importance of Albania's inclusion in pan-European corridors, the possibility of transferring Croatian experience and knowledge from the EU integration process and in the field of transport were opened up.

Minister Butkovic pointed out that the cooperation of all countries on the traffic in the Adriatic-Ionian corridor is necessary, especially in the technical part of the development of future routes. Such cooperation includes technical assistance related to a better understanding of European policies in regard to transport and infrastructure, but also better use of EU funds.

Speaking about her ministry's plans and the need to rebuild Albania's railway network, Minister Balluku emphasised Albania's interest in further training staff in the area. In addition, the Minister announced that the Albanian side has provided funds for the construction of the Albanian section of the corridor and that it's realistic to expect that work on the project will begin in the spring of next year, and the estimated deadline for construction is three years.

Traffic connections between Croatia and Albania, a chance for a Croatia-Albania ferry line introduction?

Minister Butkovic emphasised the need for alternative solutions for connections between the two nearby nations. In this regard, it has been proposed to form a working group that will work on the preparation of the agreement and the establishment of a direct air route between Tirana and Zagreb, and that isn't all.

The establishment of a Croatia-Albania ferry line is in the interest of both sides, and the Croatian side proposed the establishment of the Zadar-Durres ferry line, and on that topic a meeting and tour of the port of Durres was held, where talks were held with representatives of the port, all of whom are also interested in expanding its capacity by connecting with neighbouring countries.

Assistance to the Albanians in solving the problem of marine waste

At a meeting with Minister of Tourism and Environmental Protection Blendi Klosi, Minister Butkovic proposed the launch of measures and activities to prevent potential marine pollution by marine waste in cooperation with Croatia, Montenegro and Albania.

On top of that, the possibility of developing programmes was also discussed. Through such programmes, the Croatian side would provide additional professional and technical assistance in resolving the issue of marine waste from land and vessels generated in Albania, as well as the development of projects aimed at strengthening administrative capacity in this important segment.

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Friday, 7 May 2021

Oleg Butković Presents Reforms And Investments For Transport Sector

ZAGREB, 7 May, 2021 - A part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO) refers to developing a competitive, energy sustainable and efficient transport system, and it is valued at HRK 5.5 billion, Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butković said on Friday.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan totals HRK 47 billion and comprises five components, with the economy component valued at HRK 26.2 billion. That component includes a sub-component on developing a competitive, energy sustainable and efficient transport system, with investments worth HRK 5.5 billion, recalled Butković.

The plan, he said, foresees the continuation of significant investments in modernising transport infrastructure with the aim of developing a sustainable transport system and stimulating the development of smart solutions as well as  reforming rail, road and air transport as well as maritime and inland navigation.

We are prepared to make these reforms and that is an opportunity to continue the current strong investment cycle in transport infrastructure, which amounts to more than HRK 25 billion. With the resilience programme we are continuing that investment cycle which will amount to more than HRK 30 billion by 2030, particularly in railway projects as well as all the other projects, said Butković.

He announced that reforms would include amendment of the Roads Act by 2026 to create conditions for the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and improve road safety.

Answering reporters' questions, Butković said that the Hrvatske Autoceste road management company is well on its way to advertising a tender for a new contactless toll system at all motorways in the country.

He estimates that the tender could be advertised in September or October and that the new system will most likely mean the introduction of a digital vignette.

The plan also foresees the adoption of new laws on maritime zones and sea ports, on inland waterway transport and ports, and on regular and occasional sea transport to ensure uniform implementation of regulations on public port management.

The plan also includes the construction and reconstruction of railway infrastructure, the modernisation of sea ports, the procurement of three passenger ships and three catamarans, new ferry boats, trams, buses, a new photovoltaic power station, and the construction of a new Level 5 autonomous vehicle, said Butković.

According to Butković, HRK 2.8 billion of the HRK 5.5 billion planned to be invested in the transport system would be allocated to the private sector.

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Monday, 26 April 2021

Butković: More Than HRK 1Bn for Port Infrastructure

ZAGREB, 26 April, 2021 - Transport Minister Oleg Butković said on Monday that in addition to current programmes, there is more than HRK 1 billion available from the National Recovery and Resilience Plant and the EU multiannual financial framework until 2027 for the reconstruction of the port infrastructure.

Butković visited the construction site for the modernisation and reconstruction of ports in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, including the Lapad waterfront which is being financed with a HRK 70 million grant.

"Never before has so much work been done on building and reconstructing the port infrastructure, primarily thanks to EU and national funds. This county has the most projects of this nature, eight, which are worth HRK 800 million," said Butković.

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković said that the works to the Lapad waterfront should be completed in 30 months.

Dubrovnik-Neretva County Prefect Nikola Dobroslavić recalled that the county had absorbed HRK 6.7 billion in EU funds and was the most successful county in absorption. 

Minister Butković will also visit the Trpanj port, which is being reconstructed for HRK 16 million, while on the island of Korčula he will visit two breakwaters under reconstruction. In Vela Luka he will sign a contract valued at HRK 75 million for the construction of a new ferry passenger terminal.

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Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Porto Baroš to be New Marina for Super Yachts? Possible Expansion Outside Baroš Controversial

March 30, 2021 - The talk of the new marina for super yachts in Rijeka, Porto Baroš, brings both the hype of development and concerns for public interest.

Porto Baroš in Rijeka, a marina with the potential of 500 ties, is the subject of a public call to be assigned the concession for the next 30 years. The call offers the possibility of expanding to the travel port's entire area, reports the Rijeka-based Novi List daily newspaper. The call was open a month ago. The decision is expected to be known in the following ten days, after which the Ministry of Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure will decide to assign the concession that will be delivered to the Croatian government.

The trading company ACI-Gitone, owned by ACI (Adriatic Croatia International Club) and Lürssen (German yacht company), answered the public call with an investment offer of 363,7 million kunas.

As Novi List learns, ACI- Gitone plans to ask for the expansion of concession to the area owned by Rijeka Port Authority and currently functions as „the port for big yachts". If approved, the Rijeka marina would become the biggest in all of Croatia.

Oleg Butković, minister of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure, is very happy about the offer of ACI-Gitone.

„This investment makes me happy as we know that with such a marina capable of hosting megayachts comes a series of additional services. Rijeka and its surroundings must take such opportunity", said minister Butković.

Mayoral candidate critical of the offer

On the other hand, the left-green party Možemo! (We can!) mayoral candidate for Rijeka Nebojša Zelić is opposed to the investment, says Novi List.

Zelić adds he has no problem with the concession for Baroš, but he has issues with the idea of expanding concession to the larger area of Travel coast and Molo Longo.


Nebojša Zelić, screenshot / Možemo! Politička platforma

„This is against public interest given that the concession is given to a minimum of 30 years and there is a possibility that the citizens could be denied access to the sea. That's problematic as it opposes the law of concessions which forbids changing the subject of the public call and in this case that is the expansion of the concession", said Zelić.

He points out that Rijeka's waterfront and Molo Longo unlike Baroš are not nautical tourism and that experience showed how much these places are valuable to the locals. „If these places are shabby, that's the problem of bad management by Rijeka's Port Authority and citizens can't be the hostages of bad management by the Port and the City of Rijeka", said Zelić. He also accused the leading party Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) for controlling the most valuable city property through Port Authorities. Zelić's party colleague Sandra Benčić said that the current General Urban plan in Rijeka disables nautical tourism port on Rijeka's waterfront and Moro Longo. She says that can change and that HDZ is counting on it if they get the majority in the city council on the upcoming local elections in May.

„I believe that Rijeka citizens will know to say no to denying access to the sea. We will publicly step out in front of the government to disrupt the expansion of the concession and prevent HDZ's interest being above the public's interest, and we will fight in the parliament too", announced Benčić.

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Friday, 19 March 2021

Croatian Ferry Jadrolinija Continuing Search for Used Vessels

March the 19th, 2021 - The Croatian ferry Jadrolinija is continuing its search for used vessels, and not brand new ones, across the globe. This move has resulted in irritation for some, including the competent ministry.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, last week, the well known Croatian ferry Jadrolinija strengthened its fleet with the new ship, Losinj, and according to unofficial announcements, the purchase of another large vessel is now in its final phase, which, according to sources from that shipping company, should be a worthy replacement for the temporary Lastovo ship.

However, in both cases, as in all procurements which have taken place by the book over recent years, these are purchases from the second-hand ship market, which completely deviates from the previously proclaimed policy of rejuvenating the Croatian ferry Jadrolinija's fleet with new vessels, and the state's desire as the shipping company's owner for such projects to also open up opportunities for activating enfeebled Croatian shipyards.

The Losinj ferry, which transports passengers along the Lopar-Valbiska line, was built back in 2010 in Greece and sailed in the area of ​​Greece and the Black Sea until now. With its accession, Jadrolinija's fleet now numbers 54 ships, and its average age has been slightly improved, to 28.5 years.

The Jadrolinija Management Board hasn't answered any questions about the procurement of a new ferry that would replace the Lastovo vessel. This case was added to by the fact that the Novo Lastovo project was obtained on two occasions through tenders, for the first time from the Polish company Remontowa Marine Design & Consulting, and a little over a year ago with a new one for a slightly smaller ship, which was designed by the Split-based company Classis.

With all of that being said, it needs to be stated that the Croatian ferry Jadrolinija is not going to be the one to have anything to do with the constrction of Novo Lastovo, for which domestic shipbuilders were very interested at the time. At Poslovni's request, the company's management board, headed by David Sopta, provided an interesting explanation as why the purchase of used ships is a better solution for Jadrolinija than buying new ones would be.

“The construction of new ships consists of several long phases and a whole process, from design development to construction, it all takes a minimum of three years. Therefore, the choice to buy used ships is not only more economical, but has a great advantage due to the speed of project implementation and the introduction of those purchased ships into the fleet," reads the response from the Croatian ferry Jadrolinija, with special emphasis placed on used ships with proven maritime capabilities, and the fact that their procurement ensures operational stability.

They also state that Jadrolinija is always looking for ships of a "younger" age and compliance with all international standards, but also the needs of each respective line.

"If a potential used vessel fits into the defined strategic goals of the company, is economically viable and with its capacity and speed of navigation and can meet all technical, economic and other regulatory requirements, but also ensure increased service quality and the rejuvenation of the fleet, then Jadrolinija decides to invest," they repeated from Jadrolinija.

The Croatian ferry Jadrolinija's vessels are otherwise very regularly maintained at annual overhauls at various Croatian shipyards and must pass the very strict controls of the Croatian Shipping Register, but also meet all current international environmental standards. As a confirmation of quality in the company, they stated that they won tenders on the liberalised EU market.

The oldest vessel in operation in their fleet is the motor boat Tiat, built back in 1955 in Brodosplit, sailing on the line Sibenik-Zlarin-Prvic Luka-Sepurine-Vodice. Premuda is a couple of years younger, which sails in the waters of Mali Losinj, followed by Postira from 1963, which sails in the waters surrounding Dubrovnik.

Another old ferry is the already mentioned Lastovo, built in 1969, operating on the line Split-Vela Luka-Ubli. The famous Marco Polo is also considered old for inter-Adriatic traffic on the Split-Ancona line, it was built in 1973, and the youngest ferries were built in 2014 - Brac, Kornati, Krk and Mljet, while the oldest catamaran is Karolina (Vis-Split) from 1989, and the youngest of them, which is also the youngest ship in the entire fleet, is the catamaran Jelena, which connects Lastovo, Korcula, Hvar and Split - it was built in 2018.

The Croatian ferry Jadrolinija doesn't actually communicate publicly about its procurement plans in this and the coming years. It has recently been announced that despite that, it is in communication with the relevant Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure regarding the preparation of projects that could require applications for access to money from the Recovery and Resilience Fund.

These would be ships requiring renewable energy sources. If they are allocated funds for such projects, they will turn to a greener future in accordance with the strategic direction of the EU.

When asked about these projects, the Croatian ferry Jadrolinija received only a principled position on how to consider and apply for certain EU projects in order to find money for the further development of their fleet, and that in the last couple of years, in cooperation with the relevant ministry, they've been looking for ways to prepare and develop EU shipbuilding projects, and that these would exclusively involve ships powered by alternative fuels.

In recent years, Maritime Affair's Minister Oleg Butkovic has expressed his great dissatisfaction and publicly criticised the policy of procurement of ships practiced by Jadrolinija, and has openly advocated for the construction of new ones. He hasn't yet commented on the latest purchases of used vessels.

The construction of new ships would also mean the possibility of new jobs in Rijeka, as well as for other shipbuilders, such as Brodosplit, and possibly the new Uljanik 1856, which has been struggling since long before the current coronavirus crisis struck the country.

"Croatian shipyards continuously show that they can build ships that meet customer requirements and they do have the capacity to do so, and we're convinced that they will apply for a tender for new ships if Jadrolinija decides to announce it," said Coric.

The Croatian ferry Jadrolinija, on the other hand, still isn't hiding that the investments it makes in its fleet are based on the purchase of used ships, for which they continuously monitor the situation across the global market.

"Along with fast ships, we want to renew the fleet in the segment of ships for remote islands, ferries for local 'short lines', but also to replace the oldest ships in the fleet," said the company, whose catamarans carry over 900,000 passengers per year.

The pace of this fleet renewal, they added, is dictated by both time and market trends, and on the other hand additional pressure regularly comes from competition that is intensively renewing its fleets.

"We're on the lookout for the best opportunity on the market to find ships that match the lines maintained by Jadrolinija, including the specifics of our ports and the required capacities on each line," they said, concluding that due to the pandemic and the dependence of their business on tourism, activities for some new projects remain under consideration only.

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Thursday, 11 March 2021

HRK 17.5 Million Set Aside From State Budget To Upgrade Ports in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County

ZAGREB, 11 March, 2021 - Several contracts, worth 17.5 million kuna, for reconstruction of seaports and waterfronts in the broader Rijeka area were signed on Thursday by Sea and Transport Minister Oleg Butković and local authorities.

The contracts envisaging the upgrade of ports on the islands of Krk, Rab and Lošinj as well as the coastal cities of Bakar, Mošćenička Draga, Novi Vinodolski, Crikvenica and Kraljevica are part of the Croatian Coast Renaissance project in which two billion kuna has been invested to date, and the lion's share of this amount has been ensured from EU funds.

Minister Butković said today that investments in seaport infrastructure would continue.

(€1 = HRK 7.582776)

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Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Butkovic: Peljesac Bridge Expected to be Finished in November 2021

ZAGREB, Dec 23, 2020 - The bridge connecting the southern Peljesac peninsula to the mainland should be completed in November 2021, Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure  Oleg Butkovic announced on Tuesday evening.

Despite the coronavirus outbreak, not all large infrastructure projects have been slowed down or paused. The construction of the Peljesac bridge, which includes the construction of 30 kilometres of access roads, is going very well. The bridge should be finished sometime in November 2021, Butkovic said in an interview with the HTV public television service.

Speaking of access roads, Butkovic said that a 2.5-km-long tunnel had been drilled last week, 74 days before schedule, adding that the whole project, including the access roads, should be completed before the 2022 tourist season.

Commenting on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the transport sector, Butkovic said that following the discovery of a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, the temporary suspension of flights to that country had been prolonged until December 31.

He said that 160 Croatian citizens would be flown to Croatia by Croatia Airlines on Wednesday. They would all have to present a negative PCR test, otherwise they would have to self-isolate and get tested.

Speaking of the national carrier Croatia Airlines, Butkovic said that the pandemic had had a disastrous impact on the  aviation industry globally.

In the year to September, all Croatian airports recorded 19% of their results in 2019. Croatia Airlines reported year-on-year declines of 90% in April and May, of 80% in June and of 70% in July and August during the summer tourist season, he said.  

The minister confirmed that the national carrier wasn't doing great regardless of the pandemic and the government had launched a search for a strategic partner, which has been suspended.

"Who will buy Croatia Airlines when everything has come to a standstill?" Butkovic said, adding that with the consent of the European Commission an arrangement had been made to help Croatia Airlines back on its feet. He expressed hope that the industry would recover over the next three years and announced that the search for a strategic partner would continue.

Butkovic also announced an additional HRK 400 million in aid to the transport sector to help it weather the crisis.

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