Vol. 2 No.6  

Inland waterway transport gains traffic system boost

     Romania’s Danube gains a new traffic system in move that could help boost inland water transport, which connects Constanta to the North Sea through the the Danube and the Rhine.
     The European Commission (EC), the Romanian Ministry of Transport, Construction and Tourism and Romanian Naval Authority (RNA) have launched a 4.5 million Euro Management Traffic System on the Danube (VTMIS), in Drobeta Turnu Severin.
     “To see significant developments on the river transport, VTMIS is one good, but still only one element,” says the designated task manager in the EC Delegation Tudor Radu.
     This Ministry aims for this system, which covers all 22 of Romania’s Danube harbours, to be ready by 2008, but Radu says this deadline could seem optimistic.
     To increase demand for the waterway Radu says available depth for long periods is “not sufficient” for good navigation and only allows navigation with limited loads. The river needs training works and increased dredging.
     “Container terminals would also help to improve the connectivity and attraction [of waterways],” adds Radu.
     There are projects to increase available depth in the common Romanian-Bulgarian sectors and between Calarasi-Braila, which has gained financial approval and will soon see an Environmental Impact Assessment.
     One businessman, whose multinational company uses the waterways of Romania, told The Diplomat that inland shipping through the Danube to the Rhine is still “a nightmare” due to the instability of flooding and freezing conditions, which can hold up loads for indefinite times.