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Montenegrin construction companies ready for the highway


The capital infrastructure project – the construction of the priority segment Smokovac - Uvac – Matesevo of the Bar - Boljare highway is an opportunity for the engagement of the entire Montenegrin construction department, which is ready for this task. This is the conclusion of the event organized at the Chamber of Economy on 24 October 2014, where the entrepreneurs were presented the design of this segment of the highway and where the opportunities for the engagement of subcontractors were considered.

The event was moderated by the Adviser at the Chamber of Economy, Mr Stanko Zlokovic, while the participants were the members of the Board for Construction and Utility Infrastructure, Energy, Metallurgy and Metal Processing Industry, Energy Efficiency and Environment. The aim of the presentation at the Chamber was to explain in more detail the future activities related to the construction of the highway, as well as to present the opportunities of Montenegrin participation in them given the fact that the upcoming agreement between the Government and the Chinese company China Bridge and Road Corporation (CRBC) envisages 30% of Montenegrin participation in the realization of this project.

The Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs, Ms Angelina Zivkovic, has talked about the opportunities for the engagement of Montenegrin subcontractors on this project. The design of the highway has been presented by the dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, PhD Milos Knezevic.

The cost for the construction of the 41 km long segment of the highway Smokovac – Uvac – Matesevo will be 809.6 million EUR. It will be financed from the credit issued by the Chinese EXIM Bank, with the payment period of 20 years, six-year grace period and fixed interest rate of 2%. The deadline for the completion of construction works is 48 months.

- As a result of negotiations with the Chinese side, Montenegro is entitled to 30% of all activities on the construction of this segment. For our companies this is a big challenge and an opportunity for a job worth 240 million EUR. Therefore, we should get ready on time because this is the biggest investment in Montenegro. These 30% should refer to those tasks where we can be competitive to the Chinese – Mr Zlokovic has said.

Ms Zivkovic has said that Montenegro will try to engage as many as possible domestic construction companies in the construction of the highway, which will start following the finalization of the procedures such as negotiations between CRBC and the investment EXIM Bank and the adoption of the project by the Assembly.

According to her, the highway does not only have the strategic importance for Montenegro in the sense that it connects the north and the south of the country but it also opens an opportunity to establish best quality connection of Montenegro with the region and the EU.

- Our strategic aim is to have a safe and secure, environment freindly transport infrastructure and to incorporate our transport system in the trans-European network – Ms Zivkovic has said, adding that this project will have multiple benefits for the economy because it will increase enterprises’ competitiveness, positively affect the development of tourism and contribute to a more extensive use of the port of Bar capacities, etc.

She has informed the public that the company CRBC has constructed 36,000 km of highways. The project incorporates European TEM quality standards which, as she has stressed out, will have to be respected by the CRBC. 

The Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering has said that the segment Smokovac – Uvac is of extremely complex geomorphological structure. It is one of the most difficult projects in Europe which need to be finalized in the coming period. The construction sites will be at the altitude of 50 to 1,100 m (even 30% of all construction works will be at the altitude 600 to 1,000 m). From the overall route, the cuts and embankments make 47.6%, tunnels – 44.9% and bridges – 7.5%.

- The entire groundwork in the construction of this segment will require 9 million m3, 1 million  m3 of concrete, 18,000 tons of steel and 730,000 m2 of insulation. Montenegrin construction sector can be competitive in the segment related to ground and concrete works because we have raw materials. We should start negotiations with the Chinese to see which operations they are willing to hand over to the Montenegrin construction sector – Mr Knezevic has said.

Nada Medenica from the Center for Ecotoxicological Research has praised the Chamber for the timely organization of this event. She has estimated that Montenegrin waste may be used as construction material in this project.

- This could help preserve several ecological hot spots, which would result in multiple benefits for Montenegro – she has said.

The Head of the Environment Department at the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, has informed the public about the agreement worth 50 million EUR signed with the World Bank several days ago to solve the problem of the four ecological black spots: Aluminium Company, Thermal Power Plant Pljevlja, Shipyard of Bijela and the tailing pond Gradac.

- We are very interested in using this waste material for the construction of the highway – Ms Vojinovic has said.

The President of the Board for Energy Efficiency and Ecology, Mr Mladen Bajkovic, ETG group, has said that it is expected that the Chinese will use their technologies in the realization of this project and that Montenegro should insist that they should respect the quality standards.

The President of the Board for Metallurgy and Metal Processing Industry, PhD Miras Djurovic, the Institute of Ferrous Industry, has also focused on the respect of European standards. He has added that the huge qualities of waste materials – ash and slag, from the production process in the metal processing may be used as an excellent asphalt base.

According to the President of the Board for Civil Engineerting, Mr Veselina Kovacevic, Bemax, the Chinese will require from the Montenegrin construction sector to offer the lowest prices.

- The ministry should help us determine the modality so that our subcontractors would be adequately valued by the Chinese companies. The key issue is to ask from the Chinese to define the price of the activities and products and based on them to determine if we will act as a group or as individuals in this project – Mr Kovacevic has said.

The representative of the Chamber, Mr Zlokovic, has agreed with this. – We heard some very good suggestions at this conference and the Chamber, in cooperation with the ministry, will do its best to open the door to the Montenegrin industry in this business so that our construction sector can get quality tasks pertaining to this project.