Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction Zorana Mihajlovic and director of the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency, Dirk Beckers, signed an Agreement on the adaptation of the navigation lock at the Hydro Power Plant Djerdap 1, which will reduce the time needed for ships to pass through from an hour and a half to 40 minutes.
The works are planned to begin in November 2018 and will last two years.
Following the signing of the agreement at the Government of Serbia, Mihajlovic said that this was the beginning of much greater investments in the water corridors in Serbia.
The minister said that the agreement would enable Serbia to use the EU donations in the amount of EUR 14 million for the realization of the project by which the navigation lock will be modernized after nearly half a century. The reconstruction will extend the lifetime of the lock by 40 years.
The importance of this is shown by the fact that, due to malfunctions and lack of maintenance, the lock which transports 6,000 boats a year might stop working, and Mihajlovic says that, following the reconstruction, at least 9,700 boats will be able to pass through the lock per year.
The total value of the project realized by the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure is EUR 28.5 million.
The agreement signed with the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency of the EC, which manages the CEF fund, grants Serbia EUR 14 million. The remaining funds for the realization of the project will be secured by Serbia in the 2018-2020 period.
Minister Mihajlovic said that EPS would prepare the project-technical documentation for this project and that a public invitation and the beginning of the realization would take place the next year.
The signing of the agreement was also attended by the European coordinator for the Rhine-Danube Corridor, Karla Peijs, and the acting director of EPS, Milorad Grcic.
The navigation lock was built in 1970, and the hydraulic equipment at the heart of the system has not been upgraded since.