1. How was 2016 for Constanta Port Administration in terms of business development and compared to your expectations?
The total traffic of freight registered through the Romanian maritime ports was of 49.1 million tonnes in the first 10 months of 2016, as compared to 47.8 million tonnes during the same period of 2015, an increase of 2.7%.
The maritime traffic registered 38.16 million tonnes (36.92 million tonnes on October 31, 2015) and the river traffic reached 10.94 million tonnes (compared to 10.89 million tonnes on October 31, 2015).
From the total traffic, 17.7 million tonnes are exported goods, 15.7 million tonnes imported goods, 10.9 million tonnes are transited goods and 4.7 million tonnes cabotage.
The Port of Constanta has gained the ‘hub’ position for grains in the Black Sea basin, given the spectacular evolutions in this field as a result of investments in new storage capacities made by the companies in the field.
2. As maritime shipping constitutes just one segment of the transport chain, internationally, how is this segment developed in Romania compared to the railway shipping and terrestrial shipping?
Having in view the special geographical location and the natural parameters of this port, there are obvious premises that Constanta should be ranked among the major ports of Europe. Still, such position implies to define a corresponding strategy, to rethink the structure of the Port of Constanta and its technological upgrading.
Also, the role of the Port of Constanta on the South-Eastern and Central European market is closely related to the development of the intermodal transport infrastructure on the national level, in close connection with the European one.
To maximize the Port of Constanta’s potential, investments in road and rail infrastructure are required, thus enabling it to play its role as the gateway to the Black Sea for the Central and Eastern European countries.
Therefore, we underline the importance of the fact that all transport modes should be efficiently interconnected, which will, for sure, be positively reflected on the cargo traffic operated in the Port of Constanta.
To a great extent, the maritime traffic of Romania depends on the existence and quality of the terrestrial transport infrastructure as well.
From our viewpoint, all specialized terminals in the Port of Constanta are connected with the technological roads that are, in their turn, connected with the national roads and the Motorway of the Sun.
3. Romania is heading towards a record economic growth by the end of 2016 (around 5% of GDP). According to the latest data, in terms of volume, what can you tell us about the dynamics of the merchandise passing through Constanta Port in 2016?
The quantity of cargo operated in containers in the port of Constanta has increased during the analysed period by 4.66%, from 5.68 million tonnes (on October 31, 2015) to 5.95 million tonnes (on October 31, 2016). This corresponds to a number of 607,329 TEU (+6.51%), respectively 570,192 TEU in the first ten months of 2015.
The container traffic registered, in 2015, 6.84 million tonnes, respectively 689,012 TEU, as compared to 2014 when there were registered 6.77 million tonnes, respectively 668,349 TEU. In quantitative terms, the increase is of 1.04%, and regarding the number of TEUs, the increase is of 3.09%.
Beside the evolution of grain traffic, we may also speak of a steady increase of container traffic within the last years, entitling us to anticipate that for the next period of time the trend of increasing cargo traffic through the Port of Constanta should be maintained not only on its important segments but also as total.
4. Can you identify some sectors that benefited from a higher demand for maritime transportation? What kind of merchandise was in lower demand for transportation in 2016? What are your expectations for 2017?
More or less, all sectors of our economy have benefited from the transport of cargo through the Port of Constanta, as containers, being the most modern and efficient transport unit that is currently used by all modes of transport, may carry any type of cargo that can be transported.
Specifically, agriculture and agri-industry have been the main winners in terms of maritime and combined transportation.
Judging by figures, it is more easily to understand what are the main demands for different types of cargo used by various industries. The ups and downs reflect the real needs of our economy.
During the latest years, traffic or cargoes registered in the Romanian maritime ports has had a steady evolution with a tendency of increase.
The total traffic of goods registered in 2015 through the Romanian maritime ports Constanta, Midia and Mangalia was of 56.33 million tonnes, an increase of 1.25% as compared to 2014.
The maritime traffic registered 43.60 million tonnes (43 million tonnes in 2014) and the river traffic reached 12.73 million tonnes (12.58 million tonnes in 2014). For the maritime traffic, the increase during the analyzed period is of 1.28%, and for the river traffic is of 1.15%.
The following cargo types registered traffic increases: cereals (from 17.42 million tonnes in 2014 to 19.61 million tonnes in 2015), oil products (from 4.71 million tonnes to 5.16 million tonnes), metal products (from 1.88 million tonnes to 2.06 million tonnes) and coal, coke (from 2.15 million tonnes to 3.2 million tonnes).
Traffic decreases were registered for iron ores (from 5.5 million tonnes to 2.75 million tonnes).
In the total traffic, cereals have a share of 34.8%, crude oil 11.7%, miscellaneous 12.2%, oil products 9.2%, coal, coke 5.7%.
In October 2016, an important traffic decrease was registered for the grain. The drop was more significant during the previous period, but a good agricultural season has caused the recovery of large volumes of traffic for this category of cargo.
Moreover, 2015 was a record year for the grain traffic in the port of Constanta, a peak of almost 20 million tonnes of grain has been reached for the first time.
Thus, the difference in grain traffic continues its decreasing. If for the first half-year the difference was more than 3 million tonnes, as compared to the same period of the previous year, for 9 months the difference was of 1.3 million tonnes. For 10 months the difference reached 0.82 million tonnes, from 17,067,195 tonnes in October 2015, to 16,244,609 tonnes in October 2016.
Good news is coming for the following types of cargo registered this year: traffic has increased for natural and chemical fertilizers, metal products, crude oil, non-ferrous ores and scrap, raw or processed minerals.
5. How many ships transitioned Constanta Port in 2016 and what does this figure represent? What are your expectations in 2017?
3,670 seagoing vessels and 8,361 river vessels called at the Romanian maritime ports between January-October 2016. Most of the seagoing vessels, 1,549 are cargo carriers, 588 are port containers, 547 tanks, 499 bulk carriers.
Analyzing the statistical data registered for the last three years, the tendency of increasing the number of higher capacity bringing commodities to the Port of Constanta has been noticed. That is why, the Maritime Ports Administration is preoccupied with the development of port infrastructure and facilities meant to attract an increasing number of high capacity to the Port of Constanta.
Like any other big port, Constanta is simultaneously working on various projects of different size, all of them leading to a more efficient port activity and more cargo volumes to the benefit of each economic entity working in the port and of the Romanian maritime ports at large.
The year 2017 foresees investment dredging, a much awaited for project, the works of which will help develop certain areas of the port that now are needing bigger depths as a result of their development, both from the view point of their commercial activities and superstructure, where new terminals have been built with millions of EUR investments.
The most mature project to obtain financing is ‘Modernization of port infrastructure through the increase of depths of fairways and basins and safety of navigation in the Port of Constanta’. This is a very important project, with the aim of ensuring safety navigation of ships within the Port of Constanta. Works will help the development of certain zones that now need bigger depths because such zones have been very much developed from the commercial and superstructure view points, resulting in the construction of new terminals. In order to bring depths to the standard quota, an area of 1.8 mil. sq.m will be dredged and the working port will be deepened on an area of 0.4 mil. sq.m.
The project has an estimated cost of EUR 39.42 mil and it is to be financed under LIOP (Large Infrastructure Operational Programme 2014-2020).
Also, maintenance dredging is to be performed, with works of EUR 5.2 million, from own sources.
The Port of Constanta is very much preoccupied by enhancing its presence and importance in the region and in the European Union when keeping its eyes wide opened on the needs and opportunities offered by its hinterland represented by landlocked countries and the riparian countries in the Danube region and on the Rhine – Danube Corridor.
On Monday, 28 November 2016, 14:00 hours, at the head office of National Company Maritime Ports Administration S.A. Constanta, the press conference to launch the project ‘Upgrade of Infrastructure and Environmental Protection in the Port of Constanta – PROTECT’ was held.
Within the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) financing programme N.C. Maritime Ports Administration S.A. Constanta as Beneficiary, and Innovation & Network Executive Agency (INEA) as Management Authority, signed, on 24 October 2016, the financing contract no. INEA/CEF/TRAN/M.2015/1131569, having as object the fulfilment of the investment project ‘Upgrade of Infrastructure and Environmental Protection in the Port of Constanta – PROTECT’.
Budget of the project: 12,696,125 EUR (exclusive of VAT), of which:
• 85% CEF financing: 10,798,706 EUR
• 15% State budget contribution: 1,904,419 EUR.
Project implementation period: 01.07.2016 – 31.07.2019.
Main objectives of the project are:
- Upgrade of the port infrastructure by extending DA 2 berth with an additional 130 linear meters and creating a 4370 sqm platform
- Improving the environmental protection facilities by building a state of technology on-shore ship waste collection facility on the newly created platform
- Improvement of the port access by renewing and upgrading the signalling system in the port basins and on the fairway
- Upgrading the technical fleet of Constanta Port by purchasing 1 new 500 DWT multi purpose tanker to collect waste and bilge water from ships.
The necessity of implementing this project has resulted from the requirement of N.C. Maritime Ports Administration in its capacity of port administration, to ensure facilities regarding infrastructure, environmental and safety conditions for navigation.
N.C. Maritime Ports Administration must ensure permanent endowment and availability of port installations to collect any type and any quantity of wastes generated by ships and cargo residues from the ships calling at the port.
Presently, capacities of collecting, stocking and treating wastes generated by ships are insufficient within the context in which the Port of Constanta is being transited by an increasing number of ships of high capacity.
Adhering to international conventions requests clear regulations to collect various types of used waters, ballast, bilge waters, grey waters and others, under restrictive terms that impose the use of specialized ships with optimum capacities, meant to limit the number of movements from the ships in the port toward the treating/ neutralizing installations on shore.
Such project is part of the standing preoccupations of Constanta Port Administration regarding a clean and safe port environment, thus contributing to the ROSPA0076 ‘Black Sea’ area.
6. As a business leader, please make a statement about what the new administration resulted from the elections should bring for the business environment in 2017.
Administration has to understand business, this is the only way in which administration can remove bureaucratic barriers.
Our main goal for the next 3-5 years is to facilitate the development of Port of Constanta into the main transit hub of the Central and Eastern Europe for Central Asia. Having this strategic goal in mind we focus on two main instruments: enhancing the advantages and opportunities given by the Danube River and streamlining the operations of the companies from the port community. Also, in order to be able to pursue this ambitious vision we will need a comprehensive perspective upon the supply chain correlated with a systemic approach on every link.
The port of Constanta is permanently interested by the development of this commercial connection with the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions with Central Asia and Far East in search of new business opportunities and clients.
That is why, interested public will meet the Port of Constanta as a participant in a wide range of promotional events in various countries and markets.
On behalf of the Port of Constanta community, I would like to convey an optimistic message, in the sense that all port actors are striving to enhance the quality of services rendered to all our clients, although the Black Sea market nowadays seems to be the most challenging one.
With a bright past, we are striving for a brighter future.