The NATO bombing of Serbia effectively has ended local plastics resin production and left very little hope of it being revived.
The state-owned industry was very small, with only two production plants. Both were bombed during the conflict over Kosovo.
``The sad thing is, the two plants had been actually running extremely well, prior to the bombing — more than 100 percent of capacity,'' said Jon Warnke, a London-based consultant with Chem Systems Inc. of Tarrytown, N.Y. ``One has to ask, will they be rebuilt? And the answer probably is: doubtful.''
A plant in Pancevo, northwest of Belgrade, produced polyethylene and polypropylene, with a total annual capacity of 99.2 million pounds. Warnke said that plant is known as the Atmijska complex.
The Odzaci complex in Novi Sad also made PE and PP, and had annual capacity of 88.2 million pounds.
Warnke said he did not know the full extent of the damage to the two plants, but he was certain they were no longer operating.
``Both were extremely small, not world-class or anything like that,'' he said.
Both plants served customers in Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia, but most of their production was exported to central and Eastern Europe.
At the same time, destruction of five bridges spanning the Danube River in Serbia have blocked the passage of barge traffic and completely stopped the transport of bulk chemicals, including petrochemicals, in the region.
The Danube, Europe's second-longest river after the Volga, is the most important waterway in central Europe. The disruption to barge traffic could increase shipping costs by road and rail three- to sevenfold, Warnke said.