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GP: Transport Development Strategy of the Republic of - Croatia PDF Print E-mail

Zagreb, November 1999

Preface

The Transport development strategy in the Republic of Croatia represents the first long-term transport system development study being proposed for enactment in the independent and sovereign state of Croatia. The preparation of this important document could follow only after extensive systematic changes and stabilization of Croatian economy, including the transport-related sector of economy.

As a part of this process, besides reconstruction of the transport infrastructure destroyed during the war, certain transport systems had to be completely transformed, earlier development orientation in transport had to be revised, the importance of major Croatian transport routes had to be confirmed on the European level, new development studies had to be prepared on scientific basis and specific projects of reconstruction and development had to be defined. The carrying out of these projects could not be delayed; also, it ensured inflow of foreign capital.

It is important to underline that the starting point in the revision of the orientation of the strategic development in transport was Croatian interest in proper assessment of its major transport routes, particularly of the direction North – South (Central Europe – Adriatic); of geopolitical changes in Croatia’s neighboring countries and changes in the organization of Croatian economy in such context, with an emphasis on transport flows; of huge damages that the transport infrastructure suffered in the war and the need for simultaneous reconstruction and development; of the need for application of modern technology in transport, in accordance with demanding environmental standards, etc.

The preparation of The Transport development strategy in the Republic of Croatia, as a synthesis of planned and coordinated development of individual transport sub-systems within the whole transport system, had to be approached in a profound and responsible manner, on the basis of the preconditions created after Croatia had become an independent and sovereign state. The most renowned Croatian scientists and experts in transport worked on preparation of this study.

The Transport development strategy in the Republic of Croatia also contains a chapter on current development, providing general evaluation of the characteristics of that development by individual transport activities in the period until 1990, as well as general characteristics of the development that took place after 1991.

In the period from 1991 to the middle of 1995, when the transport system was characterized with obvious consequences of war destruction and road blocks and when the communication with the eastern parts of the country was still interrupted, the importance of development policy became visible. In those years, besides searching for solution for transport isolation of Croatian southern regions, rehabilitation of transport communications and re-establishing of transport, important projects of development and modernization of transport, particularly in road infrastructure, were started and have been successfully carried out since.

Although the Strategy does not comprise the development of postal system and telecommunications, due to completely different technical and technological characteristics of these two systems as compared with the transport system (when observed in terms of transport and infrastructure), it is necessary to point out that exceptional results were achived in the area of telecommunications in 1991, which align Croatia in a group of developed European countries (optical cables, digital communications and transmission systems, mobile telephone network, average density of 34 telephones per 100 people). Telecommunications are facing a general level integration of high degree, as well as liberalization of services, which will allow strong competition among telecommunication network operators. Croatian telecommunications must adapt to this trend in the world. This is why their separation in an independent company was inevitable – a company economically capable for responding to such a demanding task, on the basis of a special law. A Law on Telecommunications has been passed, which has liberalized the market for telecommunication services in Croatia. Further development, up to the year 2000, has been defined with a medium-term plan for postal system, as well as with a medium-term plan for telecommunications.

The transport development policy was based on the following strategic goals: appropriate evaluation of advantages of Croatian geopolitical position as a part of European network of major transport routes; interconnection of Croatian regions, particularly its coastal and continental parts, as well as connecting with European transport routes; speeding up joining of Croatian economy to the international division of labor and improving dynamics of economic development by developing transport infrastructure and transport-related activities; creating possibilities for direct investment of foreign capital, as well as for credit support of international finance institutions, with development and infrastructure programs; developing integral transport as a modern form of environmentally friendly transportation; restructuring large state-owned companies and applying market principles in their business operation; organizing administration, construction and usage of transport infrastructure facilities, particularly the ones considered as a public property or the ones located on a public property.

Several development studies, programs and projects have been prepared in some segment of transport, the preparation of which involved scientific institutions and renowned international consulting firms. Certain projects of reconstruction and development of transport infrastructure (road, railway and port infrastructure, as well as flight control system) were defined in cooperation with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and with the European bank for reconstruction and Development. Financial loans of the total value of 273.6 million USD were granted to the Republic of Croatia in the period between 1994 and 1998 for carrying out of these projects, on the basis of the agreements made with the above mentioned international banks. In addition to these and other international loans, as well as the funds of companies, substantial funds from the state budget and other public revenues (equivalent amount of 1,233 million USD from 1991 to 1998) allowed the transport sector to be one of the main beneficiaries of investment activities in Croatian economy.

The process of reconstruction, modernization and development in transport sector went on together with substantial changes in legal status, property relations and organization of legal entities in some transport-related activities, as well as in financing of the development. It should be noted that eleven transport-related laws were enacted between 1990 and the end of 1995, out of which six are still in effect. Further nineteen laws were enacted after 1996. In 1998, an important phase in creating of a modern legal framework in this sector of economy was completed, in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, international conventions and European legal standards. Modern legislation is transparent for international investors of capital, too, which is particularly important for this infrastructure sector of economy, with its distinctly outlined investment needs.

Abiding by strict rules and standards, stipulated in international conventions within international organizations, represents an important precondition for functioning of Croatian transport system within the international one. The Republic of Croatia is a member of fifteen international organizations related to maritime affairs, transport and communications, as well as of 84 multilateral international conventions and protocols. The conditions and relations in performing of specific forms of international transport are regulated with 61 bilateral agreements, made between the Croatian Government and the governments of other European countries, while another 58 bilateral agreements are in the making. Another exceptionally important segment of relations and conditions for regular and safe functioning and modernization of transport is regulated through international organizations of experts.

Particularly valuable result of international activities was attained on the 3rd Pan-European Transport Conference, held in Helsinki in June 1997. The most important Croatian transport routes were included in the European network of major transport corridors (the 5th, 10th and 7th – the Danube Corridor). As a result of this confirmation of the importance of the Croatian position in terms of transport, the development of infrastructure and technology of transport on our transit routes has become a part of coordinated national development programs on all of these corridors, carrying out of which awaits international financial assistance.

The process of escort bayan transition of the entire economy of Croatia and of Central European countries of the former socialist block, as well as war and its consequences, have essentially affected the volume of domestic and transit transport, besides inherited negative trends. This is why, particularly in the railway sector, the last seven-year period has mostly been marked with problems related to current business operations, rationalization of costs and determination of programs aiming at extensive restructuring of HŽ (Hrvatske željeznice – Croatian Railways) and modernization of railways. Similar situation could be seen in the Port of Rijeka (Luka Rijeka), a port of special, international significance for Croatia. In the segment of the infrastructure of domestic waterways and river navigation, a reconstruction process is on, a part of the fleet has just been returned and eskişehir escort navigation has partially been restored after recent full blockade of navigation along the Danube for Croatian ships, as well as after blocked navigation along the Sava, as a result of war.

Real achievements since 1991 – in terms of legal framework and implementation of enacted laws, preparation of development studies and projects, as well as carrying out of reconstruction and development projects – need to be presented by individual segments of transport.

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