Inland waterways freight companies felt all the challenges of 2022 – from the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, including fluctuations in the grain market and the energy crisis, to climate change, which hampered river transport last summer.
The most successful among them managed to overcome all obstacles and achieve exceptional business results, while the income of 87 companies registered for this activity in 2022 exceeded EUR 213 milion, i.e. it was about EUR 85 milion higher than in 2021 and twice as much compared to pandemic year 2020, when it amounted to EUR 103 milion.
Last year, the Port Management Agency recorded 15.3 million tons of transshipped cargo on the rivers in our country – which, compared to 2021, represents a drop of 3.5 percent or 600,000 tons of cargo. Companies that are domestic leaders in river cargo transportation, however, do not limit their operations to Serbia.
The maritime-river company Agent Plus, which is the most successful company in its industry in terms of profit in 2022 according to the data of the credit rating company CompanyWall, is present “from Rotterdam to Konstanz” in water transport with its own fleet.
“The complex situation caused by the war in Ukraine, announcements of an energy crisis, grain prices on the world market, a somewhat weaker grain crop in Serbia, the constant growth of mining and processing companies in our country and the surrounding area, the need to transport materials for the construction of infrastructure facilities, congestion in loading -unloading ports, extremely low water levels of rivers, especially in the summer period, and the suspension of navigation, are just some of the factors that significantly influenced the development of transport on inland waterways. “Relying on our experience and professionalism, we have managed to maintain business continuity and efficiently respond to clients’ requests,” said Agent Plus executive director Nemanja Netković.
He states that in such conditions it was difficult to make a stable business projection for 2023, but they decided to focus their efforts on investing in their own ship capacities, so that they could quickly react to all changes that affect the volume and economics of business.
When it comes to domestic companies involved in river cargo transportation, a total of 87 of them were registered. In addition to the growth of income in the last three business years, there is also an increase in realized profit at the level of the branch. CompanyWall’s analysis says that the total net profit of the industry jumped from slightly more than 586 million dinars in 2020 to 2.11 billion dinars in 2022.
When it comes to the list of the most successful in 2022, Agent Plus is at the top with a net profit of slightly less than 600 million dinars, while in second place is Jugoslovensko rečno brodarstvo AD (JRB) in almost absolute majority ownership of the state, with 287 million dinars net profit. In third place is Rubikon Shipping Company with a net profit of 213.3 million dinars, and in fourth place according to the realized net profit is one of the youngest companies on the list – International Vessel&Barge Chartering (IVBC), founded in May 2021, and with 152 million dinars in net profit.