Constantza has a rich history that can be traced back to the 6th century BC, and it has often been at the centre of a changing European environment due to its position that provides access into the Black Sea and to the Mediterranean. However, now it is time for the port, for Romania, and for the whole of Europe, to fully realise what this harbour can become. Its position is ideal for offering access to either sea it is located near, facilitating trade, and welcoming tourists to Romania and the rest of the region. Constantza has already displayed over its history as being important, as a port does not remain in place after many millenniums without being very significant.
The port of Constantza has undergone a large amount of development in the past few years, which have aimed to utilise the advantageous geographical position to solidify the port as one of the greatest hubs in Europe. The impressive amount of investment that has gone into the port from the EU and the Romanian State demonstrates how crucial Constantza is to the continent.
The improvements have taken the form of many projects; these have ranged from infrastructure improvements to developments made to the port itself. CEO Valeriu Ionescu gave an overview of some of these: “A road bridge has been built across the Danube- Black Sea canal, which links the north and south ports of Constantza together, and it is the biggest structure of this type in Romania. Another example is the development of the rail capacity in the area, which provides the optimum and unitary service for the present and future port operations. A third investment is Constantza’s north breakwater extension, this has increased ships’ safety through protecting fairways of the ships and reducing the destructive effects of waves over port precincts works. Lastly, there has been the master plan of the port, it represents a strategic planning for the medium- and long-term until 2040 ensuring the continuous port development with efficient use and operation, orientated towards the real requirements of the market, and within the context of competition with other ports.” There are further plans to embark on dredging projects and continued modernisation developments, these will ensure the port can meet the requirements of larger ships and maintain a safe harbour for all.
The port facilitates the traffic of significant amounts of goods in the region, and during 2015 it registered over 56 million tonnes which was an increase on the previous year. The prominence of Constantza in this market was something Valeriu explained: “The port has gained the hub position for grains in the Black sea basin – the spectacular evolution in this field is owed to the investment in new storage capacities. Thus within the total traffic of 2015, agribulk represented 34.8 per cent, crude oil 11.7 per cent, various commodities 12.2 per cent, oil products 9.2 per cent, and solid mineral fuels 5.7 per cent. During the first six months of 2016, an increase of nine per cent in the quantity of containerised cargo traffic, respectively eight per cent increase of the number of TEUs as compared with the same period of time in 2015.” While becoming the hub for the Black Sea might be rightfully significant, the Port is not stopping there, and has plans to become the main transit hub of Central and Eastern Europe for Central Asia.
The port has demonstrated its ability to entice ships, and puts on quite a show for those that visit, which Valeriu built upon: “Romanian and foreign tourists will be able to fully enjoy exceptional events, such as the 2016 Black Sea tall ship regatta that spans across September and October, it is an exciting and unique opportunity for people to come admire and visit the beautiful sail ships.” The port has entrenched its place as the number one destination of the Black Sea for large cruise ships, and Valeriu gave some examples of those that the port has interested: “The Royal Clipper, a luxurious sail ship has called at Constantza twice this year, and the port has received her like a star of the seas with brass band music and an attractive programme for the tourists aboard. There is also the Silver Whisper cruise ship which has made two calls at the port, and Constantzahas confirmed for the 2018 cruise season.” The prominence of Constantza in the industry is underlined by its representation at the 48th assembly of the Medcruise association.
The port has an ideal location, perfect to attract both tourists and commercial traffic, and with such ambitious investment already happening and more planned, there is little more that could be done to improve the future prospects for Constantza. It seems to be solidifying its position as a hub for goods, and an ideal location for tourists to visit, which is an impressive combination to achieve. The port has come a long way from the one the Greeks or Romans knew, or even the port it was at the turn of the 21st century, everything suggests that it will continue to evolve into an even more impressive maritime hub.
Port of Constantza
Attracting new cruise ships