Ports Infrastructure

Ports Infrastructure

Both sea and river routes – the Black Sea and the Danube River – offer reliable shipping transportation to and from the country. The largest Bulgarian seaports are Burgas and Varna on the Black Sea coast. Varna mainly handles containers, grain and bulk goods, while Burgas mainly deals with crude oil and some bulk commodities. A ferry connection from Varna to Odessa (Ukraine), Kavkaz (Russia) and Poti (Georgia) facilitates the transport of goods between the countries.

The Danube River is navigable during most of the year and supports inland water transport. With the Rhine – Main – Danube canal in use since 1992, Bulgaria has access to the large European ports on the North Sea. The main Bulgarian ports on the Danube River are Ruse, Lom and Vidin.

Bulgaria has 15 Black Sea and 13 Danube River ports for public transport with national importance consisting of a total of 84 and 74 wharves, respectively. The ports with regional importance for public transport are 9 on the Black Sea coast and 21 on the banks of the Danube River.

According to the National Concession Registry, a total of 13 ports with national importance are currently under concession.

In 2013, the government granted a 35-year concession for the port terminals Ruse-West, Nikopol, Vidin South and Lom.

In addition, according to the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, concession calls for the port terminals Ruse-Center and Tutrakan took place at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. Meanwhile, Nesebar port terminal is already under concession agreements.

The Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications is currently performing a pre-concession evaluation on port terminal Ruse-East and port Vidin-Center and the concession call is expected to be issued in 2016.

The three Danube ports to be modernised in the scheme are; Giurgiu Port, Bechet Port and Corabia Port.

The timescale laid out for the projects is expected to range from 2 to 3 years. The cost is split fairly evenly at just over €5 million for each. Funding is expected to come from the state, and private investors where possible. However, due to conflict in the Ukraine, investors are taking a cautious attitude to the region, making private funding difficult to obtain according to Port Finance International. There are some parties taking a positive view on Danube trade.

Black Sea Grain reported earlier this month that Nidera, a company run by China’s state owned Cofco, was set to invest €3 million in the construction of a granary at Corabia Port. This, along with the acquisition of another granary in the terminal of Constanta port (the largest in the country), has given the company significant access to grain on the Danube.