EFIP members meet in Belgrade to visit Serbian inland ports and study their successes
On 20 October 2023, EFIP members gathered in Belgrade for their annual Executive Committee meeting. The meeting was hosted by the Port Governance Agency (PGA).
The Executive Committee included a panel discussion about port development using the success in the Serbian case. The panel provided answers to the most crucial questions related to challenges in inland ports and the future development of waterway transport. Participants offered their insights on the significance of digitalization in the port sector, the role of ports in achieving decarbonization goals, and on the upcoming expansion of the Trans-European Transport Network.
Taking place on the panel were Antoine Berbain, President of European Federation of Inland Ports, Manfred Seitz, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Danube Commission and Mark Assaf, Chief of Human Resources Development Section (UNCTAD).
The panel discussed the role of inland ports as enablers of green logistics to realize the green transition. This requires political support and financial autonomy to develop the industries and innovations needed on order to make this a success. At the same time cross-border and international cooperation is essential to ensure optimal solutions.
PGA celebrated its 10th anniversary this year as well. To mark this occasion, they presented the three panellists with Certificates of Appreciation for their continued support over the years. PGA recognised the continued support of EFIP in the process of recognising the Serbian ports at the EU level, in particular in relation to the TEN-T Guidelines revision.
Executive Committee members had then the chance to visit the Port of Novi Sad
The Port of Novi Sad is one of the Serbian ports on the CORE TEN-T network. Due to its favorable geographical location, it plays a significant role in the port sector in Serbia. During the visit, the most important investments by DP World in the Novi Sad port were showcased, primarily the newly opened vertical quay. The investment by this company, a port operator, will amount to a total of 30 million euros, as outlined in the Contract for the Performance of Port Activities signed with the PGA. Half of this has already been realized, and it is expected that these significant investments will contribute to an increase in cargo handling volumes and the development of industries in the hinterland of the Port of Novi Sad.
Antoine Berbain, President of EFIP, added: “It is clear that the port of Serbia a thriving and that their weight along the Danube is undeniably important. The success of PGA shows how long term governmental support for inland ports works. ”
Vuk Perovic, the Director of the Port Governance Agency, emphasized that it is a great honor for this institution to have organized the meeting of EFIP in Belgrade. He stated, "I am pleased that Serbia is recognized as a country that is actively working on the development of ports and port activities. I am particularly proud that we had the opportunity to showcase all the development projects and activities carried out by the Government of Serbia and the Agency. For us, this means a step closer to better transport connectivity and aligning with global and European trends in the port sector."
EFIP member's visit to Novi Sad