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Interview with Alexandru Șerban Cucu

  • General Director at the Ministry of Transport of Romania - Romania
  • Newsletter n°5 - March 2010

Alexandru Șerban Cucu

1) The European Union policy objectives promote environment- friendly means of transport, rail river and maritime transport in particular, aiming at enhancing inter-operability and inter-modality what are the main intermodal projects involving your country?

The achievement of our policy objectives in the field of environmental sustainability is a constant goal in the investment process of Romanian transport infrastructure, especially through Sectoral Operational Programme Transport (SOPT). In this respect, intermodality is a key area of intervention which envisages the construction and rehabilitation of intermodal terminals of Romanian railway infrastructure. For example, the rehabilitation of the railway capacity in the Port of Constanta.

2) In the context of TEN-T revision what are the main priorities of Romanian Ministry in rail and road sector? Will Romania prefer an extension of the current 30 priority project or would it support a core priority network concept?

What Romania expects from the TEN-T revision, both for rail and road, is a core network based on the existent priority axes which should be extended to cover the lack of accessibility of major regions of Romania, that neighbour with EU and non-EU members.

3) The Romanian ports faced quite well the current economic crisis, what kind of infrastructures do they need to improve their quality of service?

The port infrastructure of the Romanian Danube ports is in an advanced stage of wear, due to the lack of funds necessary for maintenance and repairing, before and after 1990. The lack of necessary funds was the result of insufficient funds allocated from the state budget, of the financial-economical situation after 1990 and of the river transport blockage caused by the political situation in the ex Yugoslavia. Thus, to improve the quality of service is necessary to invest in rehabilitation, modernization, quays development and for ensuring the minimum necessary depths in the fairway, designed to enhance navigation safety and the safety of ships under the loading/unloading operations.

4) What are the main problems from an infrastructure point of view in making the Danube river fully integrated in the  European transport system?

On some sectors, the main problems for the navigation is represented by the clearance under bridges and the existing locks. But on the Romanian sector of the Danube these issues do not create any bottlenecks. The only obstacles for navigation on the Romanian sector of the Danube are generated by the low water levels during the dry seasons and the ports infrastructure.
In the periods of summer - autumn the water levels are decreasing considerably resulting in worsening navigation conditions and the minimum depth of 2.5 m recommended by the Danube Commission are not met. The reasons for this very unfavorable situation are mainly related to the hydrological and morphological evolution of the Danube River for the last 100 years.

5) The Black Sea ports, together with the Adriatic ones, are often seen as the possible competitors to the northern ports, do you see any possible synergies with them?

The applicable rules for Black Sea ports are the same with the northern ports. Even if there are some differences regarding the national ports administration all the ports have as main interest attracting as many clients as possible. Considering the corridor Rhine-Main-Danube any cooperation between the northern and Black Sea ports is for the benefit of all of them.

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