November 23 (SeeNews) - The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide a 100 million euro ($113.5 million) loan to Serbia to improve navigation on the inland waterways along the Danube and Sava rivers, the lender said on Friday.
The project will improve services to the local and regional industries as well as the agricultural sector, support economic growth and create jobs, enhancing connections between European countries, the EIB said in a statement.
More than 200 million euro will be invested into a number of projects, starting 2019, including the construction of the bulk and general cargo terminal at the port of Smederevo, a network of hydro-meteorological stations along the Danube and Sava rivers, the rehabilitation of river locks and the removal of World War Two wrecks from the Danube near the port of Prahovo.
The Danube and Sava rivers are a part of the Trans-European Transport Network priority project Rhine/Meuse-Main-Danube inland waterway axis. The loan will facilitate a shift from road to waterway transport.
"The loan signed today is another example of the very fruitful cooperation with Serbia. I believe that this project will bring economic benefits to the country and its citizens and will lay a foundation for further investments in this sector," EIB vice president Dario Scannapieco said.
The investments into the inland waterways in Serbia profit from an investment grant of 11.4 million euro provided by the European Commission under the Connecting Europe Facility to co-finance the rehabilitation of the river lock Iron Gate 1. Additionally, the project may benefit from a technical assistance grant under the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative and will be also funded by the Serbian state budget.
($ = 0.880759 euro)