Source: Blic | Wednesday, 06.05.2009.| 13:47
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New bridge across the Danube prior to end of year 2013 – negotiations with China to start soon

Zemun (Photo: b)

If Republic of Serbia signs the contract on crediting of construction of Zemun-Borča bridge with Export-Import Bank of China, its construction may start in October or November 2010. According to the estimates that were made two years ago, the value of works on construction of the bridge and access junctions is about 190m EUR. The talks about financing of the works may commence already this month, and our delegation will be led by the Minister of Economy and Regional Development, Mlađan Dinkić, who is also the chief of the negotiating team.

The City Parliament authorized Mayor Dragan Đilas at yesterday’s meeting (May 4, 2009) to represent the interests of city of Belgrade in the negotiations with Export-Import Bank of China about crediting of construction of Zemun-Borča bridge.

- There is an exact plan for realization of all suggested works and negotiations with Chinese side. According to that plan, the contract should be signed by the end of the year, ratified in the Republic Parliament, and then adopted in the City Parliament. The works on construction of the bridge should commence between October and November 2010 and, according to the estimates of Chinese experts who have already been staying in Belgrade, it will take about three years for the bridge and access junctions to be finished – said Đilas and pointed out that Zemun-Borča bridge would enable moving of traffic from the city center, as well as development of Belgrade on the left bank of the Danube.

The length of Zemun-Borča bridge is 1,499 m. According to Đilas’ words, construction of the bridge would cost about 190m EUR, but that is the estimate that was made two years ago.

- Once we have complete project before us, then we will know the real price. I sincerely hope that it will be smaller since the prices in civil engineering have been reduced over the last year and half. The initial negotiations are over at this moment, but we still don’t know anything about the crediting terms, contractors and repayment of the loan – Đilas explained and pointed out that the guarantee for construction of that bridge, in amount of 200m EUR, was included in the rebalance of Serbia’s budget.

Concerning the fact that this bridge is one of the priority projects in the capital city, as well as that it is important for the bypass around Belgrade and the traffic from the direction of Romania, Vršac and Pančevo, the city authorities find it logical for both Republic and City to take part in realization of the project. Thus, the loan contract with Export-Import Bank of China would be signed by the Republic of Serbia, while the investor and the user of the loan would be the City of Belgrade, which would be paying its obligations to the state by reducing transfer of funds from the budget.

- According to rough calculation, annual installment would range between 13 and 14m EUR, and it would be paid 50-50 by the Republic and the City of Belgrade – said Đilas and pointed out that China had already granted similar loan to Malaysia whose repayment deadline is 20 years, grace period amounts to three years, while the interest rate is about 2% on annual basis.

All companies that are interested in construction of Zemun-Borča bridge have, as Đilas explains, long-time experience, they work all around the world and all of them are “much bigger than the companies that are currently working on the projects in Serbia".

The study on economic profitability of Zemun-Borča bridge already exists, but the City should provide the conditions from the plan as soon as possible, as well as adopt the Plan for detailed regulation of junction North Tangent and acquire the land.

In February 2009, Belgrade was visited by Chinese economic delegation led by the Vice President of Export-Import Bank of China, which reached the agreement with the representatives of the Government of Serbia on making the construction of Zemun - Borča bridge a "pilot" project of cooperation between the two countries. The Government of Serbia then formed the negotiating team for provision of the loan for financing and construction of this bridge.

Plan of activities
- Signing of the contract with Export-Import Bank of China – end of year 2009
- Ratification of the contract in republic and city parliament – mid-2010
- Commencement of works on the bridge - October-November 2010
- Completion of construction of the bridge and access junctions – year 2013

(Note: complete text is taken from newspaper "Blic" of May 5, 2009)

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