Ruse, Bulgaria (PortSEurope) July 14, 2019 – After being awarded a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) agreement to operate the Serbian inland port of Novi Sad on the Danube river, Dubai Ports World (DP World) is interested in taking over a Bulgarian port downstream on the Danube.
In June P&O Ports, part of DP World, Chairman, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem met with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and discussed investments in Bulgarian river ports and in high technology logistics centres around the country as a way to speed-up the transfer of cargo to Western Europe.
Bulgaria will launch concession tenders for its largest Black Sea and Danube River ports in 2020 with the most lucrative ones being the projects for the development of Varna-East and Varna-West ports, according to the action plan for State Concessions 2019-2020, adopted by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers. All ports concessions will be with duration of 35 years with an option for extension of 11.5 years.
The Danube river ports concessions are expected to be for: Zimovnik Ruse (Ruse, Rousse) port terminal for all types of cargo with a territory of 32,734 ; Ruse East 1 port terminal for all types of cargo with a territory of 333,057 m²; Ruse East 2 port terminal for all types of cargo with a territory of 355,132 m²; Ruse West port terminal for all types of cargo with a territory of 117,003 m²; Vidin Center port terminal for all types of cargo with a territory of 18,261 m².
Bulgaria plans to connect Ruse on the Danube river with Varna, its largest Black Sea port (a distance of some 170 km) with a new highway and a high-speed railway.
The Port of Novi Sad provides connections with DP World Constanza (the largest Black Sea port), Romania, with onward handling of bulk cargos in Jebel Ali Port, Dubai, UAE, also controlled by DP World.
P&O Ports will operate Novi Sad port for an initial 25 years with an option to renew by both parties for a further 25-year period. The company will have exclusive rights to undertake all waterside operations, container handling, project cargo and fertiliser activities.
The Port of Novi Sad is located on a 24-hectare site and is operated by the last remaining port operator in the country owned by the government, with an estimated throughput of around 1 million tons a year.
The investment represents the growing interest of owners and operators to exploit their logistics capacities for inland and seaport facilities. Both parties see the increased trade volumes between Europe and Asia, particularly China, and seek a role and a revenue stream. Operators, such as DP World, have global operations in ports and terminals, and also seek a stake in China’s new Silk Road.
The new Silk Road (part of the Belt and Road initiative also known as One Belt, One Road, or OBOR) is a Chinese economic strategy to seek better access for Chinese-made products in European markets, which includes acquiring stakes in ports and other transport facilities, and cooperation agreements with countries along the Silk Road routes.
Constanta is connected to the Danube river by the man-made Danube–Black Sea navigable canal, which runs from Cernavoda, on the Danube, to Constanta (southern arm, the main branch), and to Navodari (northern arm). This makes Constanta the preferred port for Serbian exports and imports via the Danube.
There is also an increasing investment in railways operating along established transport corridors, including the EU Ten-T network. Together with Chinese investment in Mediterranean ports (Piraeus, Trieste, Genoa, Istanbul, Port Said in the mid-eastern Mediterranean region), regional state governments seek investment to increase their logistical capacity to handle the increased Chinese cargo volumes. Beijing is also, in some cases, the source of financing.
DP World is a leading enabler of global trade and an integral part of the supply chain, operating multiple yet related businesses – from marine and inland terminals, maritime services, logistics and ancillary services to technology-driven trade solutions.
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