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.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Lockdown Brings Increase in Rail Freight Transport, Drop in Passenger Transport

ZAGREB, September 18, 2020 - About 67% fewer passengers travelled by rail in the second quarter due to the corona crisis compared to the same period last year while freight transport rose by 2.5% by taking over freight from other transport modes, the HAKOM regulatory agency informed on Friday.

Noting that a decrease in the number of passengers travelling by rail in Q2 was to have been expected because of the lockodown, the Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries - HAKOM on Friday confirmed previous claims by Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic that as far as the cargo segment was concerned, the railway did not generate any loss.

A total of 3.66 million tonnes of goods were transported in Q2 according to HAKOM, which is 2.5% more year on year however it recorded a 'small' decrease (11,000 tonnes) compared to Q1 2020.

Similarly until now, the biggest freight transporter in Q2 was the national HZ Cargo with a share of 56.3% in train kilometres while the remainder of cargo was transported by eight other providers on the market.


Passenger travel reduced due to epidemic

Unlike freight transport, which continued to operate without any major disruptions during the entire time of the lockdown, passenger transport was significantly reduced in Q2 year on year, by almost 67%.

In numbers, that means that 1.7 million passengers travelled by train in Q2 this year compared to 5.1 million in 2019 Q2.

There were fewer passengers compared to Q1 too, when 4.7 million passengers travelled by train in that period.


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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Oleg Butkovic Talks Toll Booth Abolition, Safety at Sea and More

Croatian toll booths are due to enter the history books, and Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, has revealed, among other things just when that will happen.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of August, 2020, the traditional action "Safe Navigation/Sigurna Plovidba" has fulfilled its goal. Out of about 400 controls carried out, 120 violations were recorded on the 11th of August, Butkovic stated in conversation with Dnevnik.

"The action is more and more educational in they way in which it points out all of the dangers that threaten people when out at sea. This year, there were about 400 inspections and 120 violations were identified. We're working on preventing tragedies occurring at sea,'' Oleg Butkovic explained to HRT.

He also stressed that nautical traffic in Croatia has been at the level of what was recorded during the first two weeks in August last year, which is encouraging given the turbulent times in which we're currently living.

A traditional action of enhanced navigation safety supervision was carried out on the Adriatic on the 11th. The aim was to check the readiness and efficiency of all relevant services during the tourist season, when the number of vessels typically increases. The most common and most dangerous offense is gliding less than 300 metres from the shoreline.

Minister Oleg Butkovic also commented on the situation with Croatian tourism this year. He expressed satisfaction with the tourist achievements, emphasising that no one expected such figures given the dire circumstances and even more dire predictions.

“The total number of active boats is at about 70 percent of the realisation when compared to last year, and for yachts longer than 20 metres, we're at the level of about 85 percent. The Republic of Croatia has proven to be a safe destination, and as far as nautical tourism is concerned, we're the first destination in the world,'' he pointed out.

For 2022, he announced the implementation of a new, contactless toll payment/collection system. He explained that the process of changing the toll collection method was completed before the elections, the tender is ready, and it will be released this autumn.

No delays are expected at the construction site of the Peljesac Bridge, despite the coronavirus pandemic throwing a spanner in the works because of the previous difficulties in access experienced by Chinese workers.

“Last week, 150 specialised Chinese workers arrived in Croatia. The works around the access roads are going well and it is expected that the works will be completed on time,'' assured Oleg Butkovic.

When asked about the procurement of more than 20 new trains, he said that Koncar's offer had been received for the HZ passenger transport tender, worth around 1 billion kuna, which is financed from EU funds in the amount of 85 percent. After the conclusion of the contract, the first train will be delivered in 24 months, and in 35 months, all of the other trains will follow.

''Due to the ongoing crisis with air transport, the process of finding a strategic partner had to come to a halt. A solution must be found to help Croatia Airlines. We will find a solution in line with European regulations, and once the situation stabilises, we'll complete the process of finding a strategic partner,'' he concluded.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Oleg Butkovic: 200 Million Euro Investment for Istrian Y, Ucka Tunnel

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of August, 2020, The Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, said on Saturday that the extension of the Bina-Istra concession (which will go on until 2039) implies an investment of 197 million euros and that the full profile of the Istrian Y should be completed by the time the next Croatian tourist season rolls around.

He also noted that the second pipe of the Ucka tunnel and the full profile of the highway should be completed by the year 2024.

"Yesterday we received news that the European Commission (EC) has approved the plan for the Republic of Croatia to extend the Bina-Istra concession until the year 2039, which includes an investment worth 197 million euros, this involves the second pipe of the Ucka tunnel and the full profile of the Kvarner highway, which is in Primorje-Gorski Kotar county,'' stated the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure.

''The contract for that will be extended until the year 2039, although we believe that the loans will be repaid earlier and that we'll repay the investment by the year 2037, after which everything will become the property of the Republic of Croatia, the entire Istrian Y, including the two pipes of the Ucka tunnel,'' Oleg Butkovic said.

The Minister noted that the full profile of the Istrian Y to the Ucka tunnel is being built, that it will be finished by the beginning of the time 2021's tourist season arrives, and that the second pipe of the Ucka tunnel and the full profile of the motorway should be finished by the end of 2023.

"It is a continuation of construction and investment in large infrastructure projects, with a special emphasis placed on transport in Croatia," noted Minister Oleg Butkovic, emphasising that around 25 billion kuna is now being invested.

For more on investments in Croatia, follow our business section.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Oleg Butkovic Teases Cheaper Motorway Usage for Croatian Citizens

As Morski writes on the 17th of April, 2020, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, spoke to RTL Today (Danas) about new measures being prepared by his particular ministry.

''There was no discussion at the state level about the arrival of Czech tourists to Croatia. It ' too early to talk about that at the moment, such a scenario, meaning the the arrival of Czechs or any other foreign nationals is not possible at this moment in time. It's necessary to consider the epidemiological situation in Croatia and in whichever other country. However, the scenario should slowly start being prepared that this situation will normalise and that the curve of those infected by coronavirus will begin to fall across all countries, and that's why all of us ministers have been given the task of preparing measures for when that moment comes by the Prime Minister,'' Oleg Butkovic said.

His department has done its part, he says, they have prepared a number of measures that they think should be discussed, and epidemiologists will need to provide their concluding statements on all this.

''We believe that in the transport sector, some measures should be eased, and public transport should, we believe, be gradually introduced, for example on a Sunday timetable. In regard to maritime transport, we propose to introduce some Zadar-Ancona catamaran lines just for freight. The current topic is also the formation of transit traffic through Croatia, in this part, we think that it should be considered that it no longer be done with police escorts but with the existing corridors, and that you can stop only in certain places,'' said Oleg Butkovic, emphasising once again that everything will eventually be decided on by the epidemiologists.

One possible idea could particularly appeal to Croatian citizens, and that is the cheaper use of the motorways for them.

''We're also considering the possibility of reduce the [road] toll in the summer for Croatian citizens. By about 10 or 20 percent, but these are all things that are still being discussed and will continue being discussed,'' Oleg Butkovic said.

Oleg Butkovic's ''field'' has been among the worst hit by the coronavirus crisis, with transport having all but been halted. Croatia Airlines, which has been falling short for a considerable amount of time now, and since long before the pandemic broke out, is another victim of it.

''The government will do everything to save these companies. This crisis has not only affected Croatia, we're going to seek a common solution at the EU level,'' assured Butkovic.

''None of this really depends on us, but on the situation with the coronavirus and the number of patients there are, but we're preparing everything to normalise the situation in Croatia as soon as possible,'' he concluded.

Follow our dedicated section for more on coronavirus in Croatia.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Transport Minister Announces Projects Worth 487 Million Kuna to Fix Split Traffic

February 24, 2020 - The Croatian Roads plan for this year includes projects worth 487 million kuna in the area of Split-Dalmatia County, which should address the paralyzing traffic, which is particularly pronounced in the summer months. 

Dalmatinski Portal reports that these are the projects that were agreed at the Government session in Split almost two years ago. The Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, said that the government was well aware that Split and Split-Dalmatia County were behind the rest of Croatia in terms of traffic.

“All projects are planned, which means that they will be realized. We are working on preparing quality documentation so that we can apply for EU funds and secure financing.  We will not be able to apply all projects, but what cannot be covered will be financed from the state budget,” said Butkovic.

The Solin area was defined as the biggest problem, which has seen a 20 percent increase in traffic over the past five years, and the busy intersection in Stobrec with over 50,000 vehicles passing through it daily. The solution is the fast road to Omis, and the project is being prepared for EU funds.

“With the implementation of these projects, southern Croatia will be in line with northern Croatia and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County,” said prefect Blaženko Boban.

The plans include reorganizing the Split network, which will include the continuation of the Split bypass to Omiš, the overpass at Širina, leveling the intersection in Stobrec, the first phase of the Vučević-Kozjak tunnel junction, which will also allow the construction of the tunnel itself, and further connect to the Adriatic highway towards the Ferry port. It also includes a bridge over the Bay of Kastela. As for the huge traffic jams through the Ferry Port, an emergency solution with a junction to Poljička Road is planned, and the exit from the Ferry Port will go over two lanes. The plan also includes the construction of Solinska Street and Zagorski put as a new entrance to Split, and a second ramp will be built from the National Assembly to Poljička. Public procurement for works on the Mravina ramp will start in September.

Mayor of Split, Andro Krstulovic Opara, says that he is pleased that the segments of the Master Plan for the Development of the City Port and Kopilica are being adopted through the planned projects.

“The Split Ferry Port is the most important island facility. This is where most of the demographic problem is addressed. The ferry port and Kopilica mean not only the connection of the islands, but also all of the south,” he said.

In the County, Croatian Roads also plans to work on the intersection in Makarska, reconstructing the Makarska-Vrgorac road, the Imotski-Zagvozd-border road with BiH, constructing the road on Hvar Poljica-Sucuraj, and the connection via Drvenik to the Ravča junction, Dicmo bypass. Croatian motorways will upgrade the Dugopolje and Rašćane juctions, and HŽ plans to continue with the design and construction of stations on the route planned to connect the Ferry and Airport by the railway.

Following the presentation on what is currently being done on each project, Butkovic signed contracts for a grant of around 20 million kuna for port infrastructure projects for the Split-Dalmatia and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties.

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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

New Breakwater and Waterfront On the Cards for Sali, Zadar County

As Morski writes on the 29th of May, 2019, the construction of a coastal belt and the new breakwater is a new project of the Zadar County Port Administration in the ports of the Zadar region's islands which are now waiting for  the necessary construction permits, as well as to be registered as candidates for funding from the Croatian Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure within the scope of the "Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020" program.

The above project is worth a massive thirty million kuna, with the investor, the Zadar County Port Authority, accounting for 75 percent of the investment within this program. Currently, the largest port facility operation in Zadar County, the construction of a ferry port in Tkon on the island of Pašman, is funded mostly by money from the aforementioned fund, writes.

With this investment, the northern shore of the harbour or the bay in Sali will be extended and properly arranged in the length of an additional 150 metres, while the new breakwater which is also set to be constructed in Sali will be 114.5 metres in length.

The new pier will fully protect the Sali's harbour, and thus far more securely, from potentially damaging and strong southeastern winds, and the new shoreline and breakwater will provide new berths for the transit needs of Sali's local harbour within a concession held by the Sali-based communal company "Mulić".

Davor Škibola, the director of ŽLU Zadar, said that all preparations for the realisation of this project could be completed by the end of this year, and that things could be wrapped up at the time, or at the latest at the beginning of next year, when the construction of a new part of Sali's riva (waterfront) and the breakwater would finally begin.

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Click here for the original article by

Monday, 27 May 2019

Six Chinese Airlines Interested in Launching Flights to Croatia

Back in January, Croatian Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport, and Infrastructure Oleg Butković met in Beijing with Chinese Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng to discuss the cooperation between the two countries in the area of transport, including the possibility of introducing direct flights to Beijing from Croatia.

Since then, news of the Chinese interest in Croatia has not stopped circulating through the media - and it seems now that six Chinese airlines have also jumped on board.

Namely, Ex Yu Aviation reports that Chinese businesswoman Yu Jiang expressed the interest of six airlines at a press conference on Thursday. 

"One of the issues for Chinese tourists is that they have to transfer through another airport in order to get to Croatia. We are currently negotiating with several airlines over the introduction of nonstop services from China to Croatia. We have six carriers that are interested and I believe that we will be able to announce the first nonstop flights between our two countries very soon,” Yu Jiang said. 

Yu Jiang’s company will take over Hotel Zagorje in Kumrovec and has also cooperated with the Zagreb-based Chinese Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA). CSEBA has supported flights between Croatia and China for some time. 

"We discussed the possibility of Hainan Airlines introducing nonstop flights from China to Croatia, most probably to Zagreb. The launch of this service would boost the number of Chinese tourists to Croatia,” CSEBA said previously. 

Recall, until the end of last year, Hainan operated flights twice a week from Beijing to Belgrade, but after a little more than a year it discontinued them due to the low number of passengers. 

Zagreb Airport has also encouraged flights between the two countries and said that they were hoping to finalize talks with at least one Chinese airline thanks to the considerable interest of Chinese tourists in Croatia and the increasing number of Chinese investments in Croatia. 

Recall, Croatia welcomed over 233,000 Chinese travelers last year, which is a notable increase of 46.7% compared to 2018. 

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 23 May 2019

A Return to Old Glory for the Port of Rijeka? Potentially...

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of May, 2019, investors have recognised the potential, which for the Port of Rijeka, means a step forward to the leading container-logistics centre in the Northern Adriatic.

With new investments, Rijeka is being returned to the former position that it once enjoyed at the tail end of the 1970's, when it was a large and significant port centre. Those have been the type of messages sent to the director of the Rijeka Port Authority, Denis Vukorepa, on the occasion of the completion of the Zagreb Deep Sea Container Terminal (Zagreb DSCT) project in the Port of Rijeka.

There has been a great level of interest from potential concessionaires, including as many as seven of the world's largest operators from Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Officially, the Chinese, and also the CRBC which is currently building Pelješac Bridge, have made themselves known.

The Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, will also visit the terminal at which the works are taking place today. To briefly recall, the most important capital project in the Rijeka Gateway Project II, worth 112.5 million euros, of which 84 million euro is from a World Bank loan, while 28.5 million euros is financed by the state. However, in addition to those amounts, the Rijeka Port Administration has continued to invest 40-50 million euros in its own investments.

When this part is completed, individual talks are expected in June and July when potential concessionaires will present their respective terminal management concepts.

It's certainly not excluded that the interest for the second phase of the construction of the terminal will gain traction, and for which permits have been prepared. The expected term for the signing of a contract currently stands at the end of September.

Traffic in the Rijeka basin in the container area has increased by about ten percent over more recent years, but a more dynamic growth in freight volumes and cargo flow is expected, which is the subject of interest for rail freight operators, and is expected to attract a larger volume of truck traffic.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.


Click here for the original article by Suzana Varosanec for Poslovni Dnevnik

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Pag Riva Renovated, Reconstruction Stands at 5.8 Million Kuna

A bit of ''cosmetic surgery'' for Pag's main waterfront (riva) as the reconstruction and upgrading of this heavily frequented area gives the town and the island a breath of new life.

As Novac/Jutarnji writes on the 19th of May, 2019, in approximately twenty days, the reconstruction and upgrading of the popular island's main waterfront with a small harbour in the town of Pag, ''Katina'', will finally be completed, and then that part of the coastline in Pag will be ''released'' for general use in its brand new, done up and completely revised edition.

In the reconstruction of Katina harbour, the Zadar Port Authority, with partial support from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure headed by Oleg Butković, and Zadar County, invested a massive 5.8 million kuna, and the necessary works were executed by the Zagreb-based company PGP.

The aforementioned works saw the deepening of the bay area in front of Katina, an important coastal wall was properly repaired and two 50 and 80 metre-long pontoons were erected, which resulted in one hundred new berths for boats, according to a report from

At the celebration of the Day of the City of Pag which took place on Friday, the project was presented to the participants of Pag's annual celebration, including to the minister of the competent Ministry, Oleg Butković. Pag riva's new look was presented by Davor Škibola, the director of the Zadar County Port Authority which, as mentioned, was among the investors.

On this occasion, Minister Butković referred to this particular port authority as "the best in Croatia" primarily because of the number of projects it has accomplished or performed in the port areas it manages.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Click HERE for images of Pag's brand new waterfront by night.

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