River Port Sector Upgrading Its Freight Role


Bulgaria is planning to launch a tender for the 35-year concession of one of its Danube River ports, the Vidin-South port terminal. BMI highlights that Bulgaria is increasing its use of its waterways and to diversify into this mode further requires its river ports to be modernised.

The tender will seek to find a bidder willing to invest BGN6.1mn (US$3.86mn) in the port over the concession period, of which a minimum of BGN5.0mn will need to be invested in the first 10 years of the concession. The plan of granting Vidin-South port terminal as a concession is to drive the modernisation of the port and enable the upgrade of equipment and infrastructure. The port's operator will be chosen via an open tender procedure.

The Vidin South port terminal is the port of Vidin's cargo terminal boasting two berths with a minimum depth of 2.5m. The port caters for general and bulk cargo, handling 126,199 tonnes in 2011.

River Taking A Larger Stake
Bulgaria Freight Transport Mode % Of Total 2006 and 2011

The river port of Vidin is one of Bulgaria's eight inland waterway ports that play a role in Bulgaria's freight transport network and that of Europe via the country's Danube River connections. The role of inland waterway transport with Bulgaria's freight transport network has been expanding. While river freight volumes have decreased by 21.3% in 2011 the sector has boosted its percentage of the country's total freight market share from 3.3% in 2006 to 8.8% in 2011.

This increase offers Bulgaria's freight transport sector greater diversification and enables the country to decrease its reliance on road, which although is still the country's main freight mode has witnessed its percentage of total freight carried drop from 84.4% in 2006 to 82.5% in 2011.

This move away from road freight puts Bulgaria on course to aid the EU drive to decrease the region's reliance on road freight, in fact the Danube has been listed as a major pan-European transport corridor in Europe (number 7).

BMI expects interest in Bulgaria's Vidin-South port terminal to be greater than the interest we have witnessed in concessions at the country's sea ports. Bulgaria is planning to concession its port of Varna, but courting Japanese and German investors has yet to show any signs of success.

Up For Grabs
Bulgaria River Terminal Concessions

The concessions in the country's river port sector have been far more sought after, with five river port terminals already concessioned and seven more terminals due to be concessioned.

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