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The EBRD is lending Romania’s Port of Constanta Eu16mn to help construct a new barge terminal to improve efficiency at the Black Sea’s largest port. It is the first loan in Romania’s transport sector without a state guarantee.

The eight-year loan to the National Company Maritime Ports Administration Constanta (MPAC) will help remove bottlenecks slowing traffic in the port.

One problem is the lack of dock space for barges once they transfer goods – such as coal, gas, oil, metals and grain – from the Danube to the Black Sea, leaving barges to clog the port area. A new 2,200m quay wall will create berths for barges and assist convoy preparations, while a small basin will be built to hold pushers and tugboats.

Riccardo Puliti, director for transport at the EBRD, in Constanta for the signing, said the new barge terminal will help streamline port activities, making the transport of goods along the river-maritime route more efficient, ultimately benefiting users of the port. The project, he added, is also an important milestone for Romania: It could pave the way for more transport projects without a need for backing from the government.

Established in 1998, MPAC is a fully state-owned company employing around 1,100 staff. The port operates under a typical ‘landlord’ scheme, whereby the authorities retain regulatory functions and administer the land and infrastructure. The private sector, however, takes responsibility for managing and financing the operation of the ports and terminals.

Gheorghe Moldoveanu, chairman of the board of administration of the port, said this project is very important for Constanta and for Romania, helping to keep the country at the heart of the trading route between western Europe and the former communist countries, as well as Turkey. As traffic flows in the port increase annually, Constanta must adapt and remain competitive by efficiently managing the growing number of users, and the EBRD loan is helping to do that, Moldoveanu said.

The Dutch government contributed Eu530,000 to help prepare the project.