Thursday, 17 February 2022

Bus Operators Seek Lower VAT On Their Services

ZAGREB, 17 Feb 2022 - Bus operators at the Croatian Employers' Association on Thursday voiced regret that the government's scheme designed to alleviate the impact of rising energy prices did not include the passenger transport sector, asking to be included in the scheme and for a lower VAT on their services.

The bus operators warned that they had been affected by rising energy prices as well as by the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on group travel.

"The government scheme has reduced VAT on gas, food, agricultural products and sporting and cultural events, but not on passenger transport. The VAT rate on passenger transport in Croatia is among the highest in Europe, and in addition to paying some of the highest fuel prices, due to the highest VAT rate, Croatian citizens do not have access to a much cheaper transport alternative," they said.

Their president Hrvoje Meštrović said that many European countries had a lower VAT rate on passenger transport also before the pandemic and energy price hikes.

He noted that countries comparable to Croatia, like Slovenia, Hungary and Austria, as well as a vast majority of other EU countries, all had lower VAT rates of below 10% on public passenger transport because they recognised its importance.

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Passenger Transport 31% Down, Transport of Goods 4.5% Down in Q1

ZAGREB, 20 May 2021 - A total of 11.3 million passengers were transported in Croatia by all means of transport in the first three months of 2021, which is around 5.2 million fewer passengers or a 31.4% drop from the same period of 2020, while the transport of commodities dropped by 4.5% to close to 28 million tonnes.

According to preliminary figures released by the national statistical office, in Q1 the most passengers, 7 million, were transported by bus, a drop of 32% compared to Q1 2020.

As for the transport of goods, 18 million of the 28 million tonnes of commodities were transported by road, a 7.4% drop from Q1 2020.

Goods were also transported by ship, with 4.2 million tonnes of commodities transported that way, which is as much as 12% more than in Q1 2020.

Three and a half million tonnes of goods were transported by rail, 3.6% down from Q1 2020, while transport via inland waterways saw a drop of 17% compared to Q1 2020, to 948,000 tonnes.

Around two million tonnes of goods were transported by pipelines.

As for air transport, 298 tonnes of goods were transported by plane in Q1 2021, a 41% drop from the same period as last year.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

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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Friday, 8 May 2020

FlixBus Returning to Croatian Roads, Passenger Instructions Published

As of the 11th of May, the popular FlixBus will be active on Croatian roads once again, connecting Zagreb, Varazdin, Zadar, Biograd na moru, Trogir and Split.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 7th of May, 2020, following the relaxation of the anti-epidemic measures put in place by the National Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia and the adoption of new measures, as well as new instructions on behaviour in public and inter-county passenger transport, FlixBus will return to Croatian roads in a few days.

FlixBus will only be travelling within the borders of Croatia until further anti-epidemic measures are announced.

''Our goal is to continue to provide a green and affordable travel service to everyone. We'll adapt to the current situation in order to transport our passengers comfortably and safely to their destinations, and we'll begin with operating within the borders of the Republic of Croatia,'' said Ante Grbesa, Director of FlixBus CEE South region.

FlixBus will return to Croatian roads with its domestic bus partners, connecting Zagreb, Split, Varazdin, Gospic, Zadar, Posedarje, Bibinje, Sukosan, Sv. Filip i Jakov, Biograd na moru, Kastel Sucurac and Trogir, respecting all safety measures put into place during the coronavirus epidemic.

Passengers are encouraged to think about their safety when buying their tickets and use the online way of purchasing them through a free mobile application or via the company's website. This will reduce unnecessary physical contact and long queues. Special attention is being paid to enhanced hygiene and to the disinfection of the bus area for passengers and drivers, protective equipment for drivers has been made available, as has the regulated boarding and disembarking of passengers.

"The safety of passengers and drivers is paramount at the moment. Therefore, we immediately closed the sale of the first row of seats to be able to protect the driver, and we're distributing passengers according to the instructions placed diagonally to the seats. Drivers are obliged to wear masks and gloves as well as disinfect their space, while passengers are recommended to wear their own masks for additional protection according to the given instructions and measures,'' added Grbesa.

Further preventive protection measures relate to the disinfection of the bus that will be performed at the end of each journey as well as the placement of disinfectant that will be available to all passengers upon entering the bus area.

In addition, passengers will enter the bus via the back door, passenger tickets will continue to be registered without physical contact via QR codes and through the use of the mobile phones of drivers, and toilets in the buses will be closed for use until further notice.

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