Thanks to the implementation of the Water Transport Development Action Plan of the Government of Serbia and the Agency's work on improving the port sector, 2019 can be marked the most successful year in cargo handling and cruising industry.
In the previous year, the Port Governance Agency recorded the best cargo handling results so far. In 2019, 14.2 million tonnes of cargo were transhipped on the rivers in Serbia, which represents a significant increase of 20 percent compared to the year 2018. The volume of cargo transport and transhipment that has increased by one fifth indicates a surge of economic activity in the Republic of Serbia, especially in the fields of chemical industry, energy, mining and construction.
The Agency's data show that 10 out of the total 13 port areas in the Republic of Serbia recorded an increase in the cargo transhipment. The biggest growth was achieved by the port area in Smederevo, where a total of four million tonnes of cargo was transhipped, making the port in Smederevo one of the busiest ports on the whole Danube.
As before, the most frequently transhipped cargoes are gravel, sand and stone aggregates, which together account for 23.93 percent of transhipments. Ores are in second place with a share of 16.48 percent, while grain is in third place with 15.95 percent. Oil and oil products ranked fourth with 14.08 percent. In addition to these, increased quantities of coal and bulk cargo were also recorded. Coal and bulk cargoes accounted for 8 percent of total river transhipment in Serbia in 2019.
According to the Agency, the largest difference in the amount of the cargo transhipped was recorded for grain and oilseeds. Thanks to the improvement of the conditions on the international market for mercantile goods, 969.000 tonnes of more grain were recorded with regard to the previous year. The Government of Serbia's measures to improve the country's energy stability resulted in 734.000 tonnes of more transshipped coal than in 2018.
The international passenger terminals in Serbia welcomed 1.542 port calls, or 30 percent more than in the previous year. The number of bank crossing is one third higher than in 2018, thus 208.797 passengers embarked and disembarked at the ports of our country. Belgrade remains the most attractive city among cruise fans and for the first time more than 100.000 cruise tourists disembarked in the capital. There were 429 port calls in Novi Sad, a fifth more than in 2018. Donji Milanovac welcomed 249 port calls, 75 percent more than last year's nautical season. The best results were achieved by the international passenger terminal in Golubac. In the second year since its opening, the number of port calls doubled to 95. In order to continue the favorable and steady upward trend in passenger traffic, the Agency plans to open two new international passenger ports this year - in Zemun and Veliko Gradiste (Ram).
At the initiative of the Port Governance Agency, the shipping line between Kladovo and the Romanian city of Turn Severin was restored after three decades. Since June 20 about 6.000 passengers could enjoy the panoramic sightseeing of Kladovo, Turn Severin and the Djerdap Gorge.
The Port Governance Agency has successfully completed the "Awake the Danube" project. For two years, the nautical traffic and tourism of the Upper and Lower Danube basin were promoted through connecting eleven authentic towns: Smederevo, Kladovo, Donji Milanovac, Kostolac, Golubac, Veliko Gradište, Novi Sad, Belgrade-Zemun, Sremski Karlovci, Apatin, Banoštor.
The Agency's work in 2019 was marked by the continuous improvement of information technologies, in accordance with the strategic goals of the Government of Serbia regarding the digitalization of state administration and simpler business procedures. 76.5 percent of the total number of applications submitted by taxpayers for the collection of port fees were submitted to the Agency through the Electronic Application Portal. In this way, significant time and cost savings were achieved.
The Agency will continue to strive to improve the area of port activities in order to make Serbian ports competitive, successful and important transport hubs in Southeast Europe.