RBT: What was the throughput evolution under the current unfavorable economic climate?
Ion Balan: There is a downward trend in all European ports, amid the difficult economic situation worldwide and Constanta makes no exception from this trend. We estimate that total throughput will reach 32 million tones in late September, while last year, during the same period, we registered 46 million tones.
We have recently seen a comeback and hope that by the end of this year, we could make up the gap to last year’s throughput.
RBT: Constanta has gained an enviable status in recent years, becoming the container hub for the Black Sea basin. Other ports in the region want to be in that position and plan considerable investments. In order to avoid fierce competition, translated in a price war that can erode profitability, will Constanta aim for new market niches, such as attracting oil and gas shipments from Caspian Sea?
I.B.: The port of Constanta has an advantage in the competition with other ports through its geo-strategic position. Let’s keep in mind that the port of Constanta is among the top ten European ports in terms of total traffic and gained the position as transit knot for the Far East and beyond. More than ever, the port of Constanta is the gate for South-East Europe.
Optimal multimodal links with the hinterland, and ongoing investments aimed at improved capacity and infrastructure connections are also strengths of the port, as we want to address all suitable market niches for us.