04 April 2019 - Prime Minister Duško Marković and representatives of the renowned Dutch shipbuilding company Damen Kommer Damen and Porto Montenegro Mohammed Al-Shaibaniagreed said at a meeting in Bijela that the project of the transition of the former shipyard into the service of luxury yachts is successfully developing in accordance with plans, that it represents a new aspect of Montenegro's development, and that it is expected that the new industry will employ up to 450 workers when it is in full operation.
Representatives of Damen, which employs 10,000 people in 35 shipyards on five continents, build 160 vessels every year and generates an annual turnover of two billion euros, presented a plan for the transition of the former shipyard. The plan is to rebuild 14 yachts in the first season 2020/2021, while in the fifth and sixth year they expect to reach full capacity - 100 yachts a year with an average employment of more than 400 people.
"That means we need a lot of employees. We want to find out as quickly as possible whether people from Montenegro are looking forward to work. We want to provide training for interested people in our shipyards in Northern Europe and to organise a training programme in Bijela," representatives of the Damen Group told Prime Minister Marković.
Prime Minister Duško Marković stressed that, after visiting the site, he is thrilled with what he saw, having in mind that it is one of the projects that changes the Montenegrin economy.
"I have been waiting for this moment for a long time, and today I feel fine. There were challenges, but we overcame them together. This project is important for the whole of Montenegro because it changes the whole philosophy of our development. With this project, we first solve the issue of the environment and open up a new clean industry. At the same time, we connect our tourism industry and industry. That is why this is a new era in the economic development of Montenegro. This needs to be understood by every state administration official. Any limitations will be overcome. Here I see a perspective for young people and that is why I am pleased that Damen is here. We need your experience and your know-how more than money. You will enjoy the full support of the Government," Prime Minister Duško Marković underlined at the meeting.
In the context of the importance of development based on clean technologies, the Prime Minister recalled that the Government allocated EUR 50 million for remediation of five locations: the former shipyard in Bijela, solid waste dumps and red sludge pools in the former Aluminum Plant, the abandoned mine shafts of Šuplja stijena and the coal ash and slug from Maljevac dump.
After the meeting, leaders of the Damen Group and Porto Montenegro, who on 30 November 2018, signed with the Government the concession agreement for the Shipyard in Bijela, with the aim of transforming the former shipyard into a service of luxury yachts, shared the optimism.
Chairman of the Damen Shipyards Group Kommer Damen expressed his special gratitude to the Prime Minister for engaging in this project.
"I am very grateful that with the assistance of the Government of Montenegro, and especially the Prime Minister, we have made progress in cleaning the Shipyard and that we are likely to start operations in March 2020," Kommer Damen said following the meeting.
Executive Director and Member of the Board of Directors of Porto Montenegro David Margason said that he is thrilled by the fact that, after a long preparation, the remediation and the beginning of the shipyard transition are finally underway.
"I am very pleased that our investment in tourism in the last ten years has finally brought new investments into this business," said David Margason.
The Prime Minister also spoke with Executive Director of the Investment Corporation of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Porto Montenegro Mohammed Al-Shaibani.
The meeting discussed the plans for further development of Porto Montenegro as one of the most important tourist resources of our country, as well as plans for expanding the tourist offer.