Transport Ministers from Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia signed a Declaration last week in Belgrade for the founding of a joint company which will provide faster freight transport along the pan-European Corridor No.X and also help simplify border crossing procedures. The Declaration was singed by the Serbian Minister for Infrastructure, Milutin Mrkonjic, the Slovenian Minister for Transport and Communications, Patrick Vlacic, and the Croatian Secretary of State for the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and infrastructure. The agreement should come into force on the 1 September this year, and the new company will be managed by Slovenia, which is already a member of the EU.
These three eminent figures noted that this was a historical agreement and that it marked a new era for future cooperation between the three states. The international road and rail corridor No. X originates in Germany, goes through Austria and crosses Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia towards Turkey.
Milutin Mrkonjic pointed out that currently only 700 trains transited Corridor No.X, whereas 7000 trains ran along the rival Corridor No. IV which crossed Hungary and represented almost 90% of traffic between Germany and Turkey.
According to him, the aim of the new company was to attract some of the traffic from Corridor No. IV by offering competitive railway services along Corridor No. X. This would reduce journey times both for passengers and for freight. In practical terms this would mean that the journey time between Ljubljana and Istanbul of 60h would be almost halved. The estimated benefit for each of the three states is estimated at around 50 million euros per year.