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REGIONAL REPORTTHE BALKANS


Politics and bureaucracy hamper projects


The financial indicators appear positive across most of the Balkans. Nevertheless, politics and bureaucracy can combine to halt major investment projects and, equally frustrating for heavy lift operators, create expensive and protracted processes for gaining permits. Felicity Landon reports.


GDP growth estimated at 2.6 percent. The report also suggested that the medium-term economic outlook for the western region (also including Albania, Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia) is positive, with growth projected to reach 3.6 percent by 2019. That, however, was qualified by the comment: “The economic outlook is vulnerable to the risks of policy uncertainty and policy reversals that would negatively impact investment and growth. Strong growth in Europe would give the region a tailwind.”


W 108


The European Union’s own assessments for the entire Balkans point to strong


May/June 2018


orld Bank figures released recently showed that economies in the Western Balkans region continued to expand last year, with real


economic growth in Bulgaria (3.8 percent last year), Hungary (3.8 percent), Greece (1.6 percent) and, the star of the show, Romania – with estimated 6.7 percent GDP growth in 2017.


How this translates into major investments, and demand for heavy lift and transport operations, varies tremendously. Based on the pure figures, it looks as if the economy in the region is developing well, said Mladen Ganchev, manager of Holleman Bulgaria. “But actually, behind the good figures in Romania and Bulgaria we see that internal consumption is moving a big part of the GDP increase, which in the end may lead to a new financial crisis,” he said. “In any case, the big political games are reflecting directly on our markets. For example, last year we were very busy with a lot of military projects – the number was


significantly bigger than previous years.” Unfortunately, the political situation is changing so quickly that nobody can predict what will happen even in a few months, said Ganchev. “Being between Western Europe and Russia and a neighbour of Turkey, the geographical position of Bulgaria is really sensitive. All this can impact really quickly on the economy – we still remember how in just a few days the South Stream project was stopped.”


Investments


Holleman celebrated 20 years in Romania last year and ten years in Serbia this year. It is also active in Ukraine and Moldova, as well as in Hungary where it has recently invested in its own equipment to expand from pure forwarding to a transport provider in line with its other offices.


“Investment in new equipment is a


never-ending process as the different industries are developing so quickly… sometimes having new, modern equipment is the key to getting an order, due to lower costs,” pointed out Ganchev.


Romania remains Holleman’s busiest market, particularly with demand for industrial equipment to increase production


www.heavyliftpfi.com


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