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Container Shipments in Black Sea Region to Grow Steadily – Report 6 mai 2006

Posted by Acturca in Economy / Economie, South East Europe / Europe du Sud-Est, Turkey / Turquie.

SeeNews, May 4, 2006

Sofia (Bulgaria) – Container shipments in the Black Sea basin are likely to grow steadily in line with global trends, as most economies in the region are growing rapidly, the Bulgarian Association of Ship Brokers and Agents (BASBA) said. 

Container shipments in the Black Sea region rose last year by 80% to 1.762 million TEU, a unit of measurement equal to the space occupied by a standard twenty-foot container, and the average growth rate had been 45% over the last five years, BASBA said in a report.

Global container shipments by sea have also been rising and are expected to reach 117 million TEU for 2006, compared to 105 million TEU last year and 39 million a decade earlier.

« The potential of the Black Sea basin has already reached about two million TEU, » the report said.

Due to the fact that mostly countries with developing economies like Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Russia and Romania are located in that region, the pace of growth is expected to be maintained, it added.

Romania and Ukraine account for nearly 80% of the regional market of container shipments, excluding the transit freight flow through Romania’s Black Sea port of Constanta. The two countries have almost equal market shares, while the remaining 20% are divided mainly between Russia, Georgia and Bulgaria.

The leading Black Sea port in terms of container traffic is Constanta with a market share of 44% for 2005, up 99% from 2004. Distant second and third come the Ukrainian ports of Ilichevsk and Odessa with market shares of 16% and 17%
and growth rates of 23% and 44%, respectively.

Bulgaria lags behind

Bulgaria’s key Black Sea port of Varna marked an 18% rise in container shipments between 2000 and 2005. The figure is below the average rate for the region and indicates a decrease of the country’s share of the market in the Black Sea basin, BASBA said.

Varna port handled five percent of the container shipments in the region and Burgas, the other big Bulgarian Black Sea port, had a share as low as one percent in 2005. While container traffic through Varna port still grew by seven percent last year, the shipments through Burgas fell by 10%.

The efficiency of Bulgarian ports is about 54% of the levels in the 15 old EU members, compared to 84% for Romania and an average of 73% for the 10 EU newcomers that joined the bloc in 2004, BASBA said.

« We would like to increase the efficiency of our ports, because now a ship loses three hours on the average for port inspection, » BASBA chairman Svilen Kraichev said.

The forthcoming accession of neighbouring Romania to the EU, which would lift border restrictions, is also a cause for concern for the Bulgarian Black Sea ship brokers, BASBA said. Both Bulgaria and Romania hope to join the EU in

The trend for Constanta to become a transport hub for the region worries its Bulgarian competitors because due to its closeness to the Varna port Constanta threatens to absorb not only transit container shipments after the two countries join the EU but also the entire container traffic that currently goes to and from Bulgaria, BASBA said.

Constanta, in southeastern Romania, is the country’s largest seaport. It is located at the eastern end of the pan-European waterway transport Corridor VII, which links the North Sea and the Black Sea. It also lies on the pan-European transport Corridor IV, linking Berlin and Istanbul over land.


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