At the crossroads: Serbia

An update on the Serbia’s transport and logistics industry.

Serbia is an upper-middle-income country located in Southeast Europe with a population of approximately seven million people. The country’s economy is a mix of services, industry, and agriculture.

The services sector is the largest contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), followed by industry and agriculture. Serbia’s major industries include automotive, metal processing and food processing. The country has a relatively skilled workforce, and labour costs are lower compared to other European countries. The government of Serbia has implemented several economic reforms in recent years to attract foreign investment, promote entrepreneurship, and reduce the country’s debt. Despite these efforts, Serbia’s economy faces several challenges, including high unemployment, corruption, an inefficient regulatory framework and a significant informal economy.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also had a negative impact on the country’s economy, particularly in the tourism sector. However, the government remains committed to promoting economic growth and development, and the country’s strategic location and relatively low labour costs make it an attractive destination for foreign investment.
The transport and logistics industry is an essential component of any country’s economy, and Serbia is no exception. Located in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, Serbia has a strategic location that makes it an ideal hub for transportation and logistics activities in the region.

Freight connections and infrastructure
Serbia has a relatively developed infrastructure for transportation and logistics activities. The country has a network of highways, railways, and airports that connect it to the rest of Europe and beyond. The road network in Serbia covers more than 40,000km, and the major highways include the E70, E75, and E80. The railway network covers over 3,800km and is an essential component of Serbia’s transportation infrastructure, particularly for the transportation of goods. Serbia has five international airports, with the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport being the largest and most important in the country.

Key players in transport
The transport and logistics industry in Serbia is dominated by several key players. The leading transport companies in Serbia include Posta Srbije, Serbian Railways, and Air Serbia. Posta Srbije is the country’s postal service provider, which also offers logistics services. Serbian Railways is the state-owned railway company that provides rail transportation services for passengers and goods. Air Serbia is the national airline of Serbia, which operates both domestic and international flights. In addition to these key players, there are also several private logistics companies operating in Serbia, including DHL, FedEx, and UPS.

Challenges to overcome
Despite the relatively developed infrastructure and the presence of key players, the transport and logistics industry in Serbia faces several challenges. One of the most significant challenges is the outdated and inefficient regulatory framework that governs the industry.

The regulatory framework for transport and logistics in Serbia is complex and it can be challenging for companies to navigate the system. Another challenge is the poor condition of some of the infrastructure, particularly the road network. The road network in Serbia is in need of significant investment to bring it up to modern standards. Finally, corruption and bureaucracy are also significant challenges for the transport and logistics industry in Serbia, which can make it difficult for companies to do business.

Opportunities for change
The transport and logistics industry in Serbia offers several opportunities for companies operating in the sector. One of the most significant opportunities is the country’s strategic location in the heart of the Balkans. Serbia is well-positioned to serve as a hub for transportation and logistics activities in the region.

Additionally, the country has a relatively low labour cost compared to other European countries, which can make it an attractive location for companies looking to establish operations in the region. Finally, the government of Serbia has expressed a commitment to improving the infrastructure and regulatory framework for transport and logistics, which could create significant opportunities for companies operating in the sector.

Fast Fact
Transfera in recent years has been growing its operation in Serbia. The transport and logistics company built new facilities in the Novi Banovci industrial zone near Belgrade. Last year it completed the construction of its first set of logistics centres. The first site covers an area of 30,000 square metres of which 3,000 square metres is zoned for office space and intended for administration activities. The remainder of the space comprises storage, recreation facilities and eateries. The entire 53,000 square metres of terminal space will be fully operated by a Yard Management system (YMS) and Dock Management System (DMS).

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