Montenegro to restart fleet with Chinese loan

A Chinese bank will lend $47.4 million (Dh174.1m) to Montenegro’s state-run merchant shipping company to buy its first two cargo vessels, a decade after the firm’s Yugoslavian predecessor collapsed, the transport ministry said.

Montenegro, on the Adriatic coast, plans to buy two Chinese-built merchant vessels for $27.8m each. They are due to be delivered by 2012, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The shipping company, Crnogorska Plovidba, has replaced the defunct Jugooceanija, which halted operations in the 1990s during the wars in the Balkans and a maritime blockade by the Western Nato military alliance of the then Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro. Jugooceanija went bankrupt a decade ago and its 40 ocean-going freighters were sold, scrapped or impounded.

Montenegro parted from Serbia in 2006, leaving the country’s former federal partner landlocked and reliant on ports in Croatia, Romania and Greece.

“This loan is a great opportunity for the renewal of Montenegrin merchant fleet,” the transport ministry statement said.

The loan from China’s Export-Import Bank will cover 85 per cent of the price for the two new ships, while Crnogorska Plovidba must make an advance payment of $8.4m or 15 per cent of the total amount.

The government in Podgorica granted the company guarantees for the 15-year loan with a five-year grace period and a three per cent fixed interest rate, the ministry said.

 

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