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REGIONAL REPORTTHE BALKANS


said this year is looking equally busy in the three ‘main’ countries, with good signs elsewhere.


Holleman expects renewable energy projects to develop across the region. It has invested in specialised equipment for moving wind turbine components.


Western European countries.”


Overall, Zagrebtrans was satisfied with 2017 and optimistic that things will be even better in 2018, said Rojnica. “But as always, it will depend to some degree on the market situation. In the energy business it is quite often that some projects ‘sure to happen’ are delayed for a year or more.”


Promising projects


Super Cargo’s main area of operation is within Greece and the surrounding countries of Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia, Romania, Macedonia and Albania. “At the moment, the most promising projects in the Balkan area are those that concern renewable energy, with the transportation of wind generators, as well as civil and industrial construction projects, with the transportation of oversized machinery,” said Super Cargo’s Vagelis Anagnostopoulos.


“2017 was a very good year for us, both in the number of projects achieved as well as, most importantly, earnings – and we are looking very optimistically at 2018. The company is making investments in both hardware and personnel and is already generating additional work.”


Operating in a very competitive environment, the company always faces price undercutting by various companies or organisations, said Anagnostopoulos. “However, this does not mean that they are not trustworthy – most of the time, companies are forced to cut their prices and profit margins in order to win some more projects. Of course there are cases that we have come up against opportunists who just care for the short-term winning of a project but are not looking to build long-term partnerships with their clients, but thankfully these cases are very few.” R&B Global Projects is particularly active in its home country of Croatia, as well as in Serbia and Slovenia; director Dave Roosen


At the moment, the most promising projects in the Balkan area are those that concern renewable energy... as well as civil and industrial construction projects. – Vagelis Anagnostopoulos, Super Cargo


“Serbia is the busiest for us. Montenegro and Bosnia are on the agenda as well, mainly for the wind industry. Albania has projects around the corner so we hope to be active there as well.” Energy, manufacturing and industrial projects are driving demand, said Roosen, but it is changing as a lot of the energy work in 2017 – power plants and oil refinery equipment – was first phase development. He expects work to pick up again in the second half of 2018 through to early 2019. In the meantime “manufacturing and industry is filling up the gap”, said Roosen. “We have been moving machinery of all kinds, such as condensers, conveyor belts, winches and spooling devices.”


Delayed investments However, the economic environment, as elsewhere, means that investments and decisions are delayed and postponed, according to Roosen.


“On top of that, the political situation in Croatia is, unfortunately, not providing an open and accessible climate for foreign investors, as they implement too many rules and regulations to be met before getting approval or go-aheads. “Perfect examples are the Rijeka container port extension, an LNG terminal on a North Croatian island, and the Piljesac bridge – three projects that have been ‘on the table’ for close to five years, but nothing is happening. “Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro,


however, because of their strong connections to China, do proceed with investments – albeit slowly but at least surely.” Velebit Promet, active across the Balkans, has been kept busy by industry, manufacturing and renewables projects. “We are satisfied with circa 15 percent growth in 2017,” said sales director Ivica Bergovac.


www.heavyliftpfi.com


May/June 2018


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