Diplomacy&Commerce Awards: Ivan Bulajić – Big Changes Are Happening in the Entire Railway Sector

On April 9th, at the Jugoslovenska Kinoteka in Uzun Mirkova 9, the Diplomacy & Commerce magazine will be celebrating its 8th anniversary at the DIPLOMACY&COMMERCE AWARDS 2024 and rewarding those who left a mark in society with their actions. In anticipation of the event we discussed with the acting general director of Srbijavoz, Ivan Bulajić, about their last-year experiences as laureates, the work they’ve done in the post-award period and how they see the development of their company by the end of 2024.How much do awards like this mean to you as a company?

Any kind of recognition that is the result of dedicated work means a lot. I am honored that the Srbijavoz company was the winner of this prestigious award in the field of business improvement last year. For us, the recognition we received was only an incentive to continue working diligently on the set goals. Big changes are happening in the entire railway sector. The construction of high-speed lines and the purchase of new trains have created the framework that allows us to record fantastic results. Over 7 million people used our company’s services last year alone. That figure is a really great indicator of the fact that citizens are happy to ride trains if you provide them with a service that is at a satisfactory level. With a precisely designed strategy, but of course also thanks to state investments, after several decades we managed to remind citizens that the train is the safest, fastest and most cost-effective means of transportation. The Belgrade-Novi Sad line and our SOKO have not only recorded incredible results in two years of existence, but thanks to it we have also created a kind of labor market because there is a significant number of people who use this line on a daily basis to get to their workplaces. We expect to achieve the same success on all routes that will be covered by high-speed railways. In the long term, it completely changes the traffic picture of our country. Our long-term plans are for railways to connect not only cities in internal traffic, but also to have international lines that will connect Serbia with other European countries in a safe, fast and authentic way after a long time.

What else have you done in the area for which you won the award in the past 12 months?

I am proud of the results that Srbijavoz recorded in 2023. In addition to the fantastic number of passengers who rode our trains, for the first time since its establishment in 2015, Srbijavoz became profitable. We achieved a net profit of more than one million, and revenues of 80 million euros. We also achieved good results in the field of public procurement, where we saved over 100 million dinars. In addition, we record great results on the ground, only 2% of trains are more than five minutes late for departure. I point this out because for years the train was a symbol of delays and generally a mode of transportation that citizens could not rely on. I proudly point out that our Belgrade-Novi Sad line is one of the most punctual lines in Europe. Of course, we tried to provide our passengers with the best possible user experience on those lines that are not yet covered by high-speed trains – clean and punctual trains, but also that our staff is at the service of passengers and is as polite as possible. We are also nearing completion of the construction of one of the most modern depots for vehicle maintenance in this part of Europe, which is located in Zemun. Also, we expect the latest Swiss and Chinese trains to join the traffic soon. Many results are behind us, and they are the product of a carefully designed business strategy that always has its primary goal, which is satisfied passengers. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the employees of the Srbjavoz company because I am convinced that these data would not be nearly as impressive if they had not contributed to it with their work and commitment.

How do you see the development of the company until the end of 2024?

As I mentioned, a lot will happen in the world of railways in 2024. We expect the opening of the high-speed railway to Subotica, as well as the arrival of new trains. This will enable us to meet the needs of our citizens for rail transport in an even better way. We continue with the process of digitizing our business. In practice, this means the introduction of PUSH notifications, that is, a change in notifying our passengers who will have the opportunity to receive precise information for the specific train for which they bought a ticket. We expect an increased number of passengers, even better financial results, and of course we will continue to develop the social responsibility of our business through cooperation with other companies and state institutions. The change in the image of Srbijavoz led to the fact that we became a preferred partner in many projects – from the world of fashion to culture. We were participants in numerous campaigns as well as partners of festivals such as EXIT. We will continue all these activities this year as well. Of course, the most important thing for us is the investment in the railway infrastructure and the purchase of new trains, because it is the basis on which we were able to achieve these results. The state more than ever recognizes the potential of the railways, so large investments in the railway sector have enabled the Srbijavoz company to record results, but also for our passengers to be happy to use train transport services. I certainly believe that the year 2024 will be even more successful and very dynamic when it comes to our business, and our task is to direct it all towards providing the highest quality and best service to our passengers.

For all information on DIPLOMACY & COMMERCE AWARDS 2024 click here.

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