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Cosmin Carstea
DP World Constanta

05 July 2021

DP World Constanta is part of the international supply chain & logistics group, DP World, present in Romania since 2003. Through the Black Sea, it is well positioned to be a commercial hub for European trade with Asia and beyond, facilitating Europe’s economic development.

Tell us a bit about yourself: how did your career path lead you here and what is your vision for DP World Constanta?

First of all, I have always been drawn to the Black Sea and Constanta, where I was born, and started my career from the bottom up, as a guard in the harbor. Working and living around the world has taught me the incredible value of sharing and breaking cultural differences, I relished every experience that has led me here and I was very glad to move back home to spearhead this exciting project. 

DP World are the leading provider of worldwide smart end-to-end supply chain logistics and what sets us apart is that we invest in assets, from land to vessels and equipment, which we own and operate. In Constanta our land lease runs until 2049, which demonstrates our long-term investment. Since 2004, when we took over the Terminal from the Port Authority, we have doubled its surface. We invest for the long term instead of seeking a fast return and prioritize developing robust relationships with traders, importers, and exporters. Our vision is to aim for organic and sustainable growth, and ultimately build a legacy.

The pandemic has affected shipping, logistics and real estate disproportionately, what has been your own experience?

A lot of our customers have suffered during the pandemic and we have tried to provide them with as much flexibility as possible. Of course, we were affected as well. March 2020 was particularly hard as we saw a sharp 20% business decrease from one day to another. COVID-19 has changed the flow of goods. Imports and exports decreased so we started handling more and more empty containers, but there is a flip side to everything. The  situation accelerated some of our digitalization, pushed us to restructure, to become more efficient and more aware of market demands. We adapted our service offer to better fit the needs of the industry and invested in our infrastructure.

The Port of Constanta has been kept in the shadows, wherein would you say lies its true potential as a logistics hub?

It is true that Romania harbors significant untapped potential through its maritime channels. Even though the country’s GDP has been steadily growing for the past decade, this is not reflected in our distribution and trade numbers. Our estimations suggest that only 4% of the GDP is transited through Constanta Port at the moment, leaving ample room for improvement and growth. It is, after all, the best equipped port in the Black Sea.

Constanta offers the best port infrastructure in the Black Sea basin. We have the largest capacity for development and expansion of the port platform (4,000 ha of land that can be expanded) that investors can capitalize on. We are very well connected with neighboring countries (Moldova, Bulgaria, Hungary) and our integrated services are second to none. The geographic positioning is in fact unique, as we are connected to Europe via the Danube-Black Sea canal, as well as through railway and highways across the country. This means that service providers can offer multimodal transport solutions. Additionally, in the last couple of years more and more retail and logistics companies are moving to Constanta, meaning more needs to cater to and a greater chance of building a local industrial hub. Real estate is also a strong sector regionally and is attracting more investors.

What are some common challenges faced by the logistics & industrial industry in Romania? 

One area that needs to be improved upon is that of the global industry being better aware of the potential here, as it is often underestimated. To give you a concrete example, only recently we had the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates over for a visit, and after introducing him to the head of the Port Authority & the Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Navigation, he was surprised and impressed by the capacity and size of the Port. Industry associations such as ARILOG are making a difference in this effort of raising awareness.

Another aspect that is being improved on is digitalization. Steps are being taken towards implementing a community system through which companies and authorities can exchange information, so that we can move away from paper and reduce the bureaucracy. And finally, the country’s overall infrastructure needs more work. It is essential to invest in cross-mountain highways and railways that are time & energy efficient. 

What are your main plans for DP World Constanta in the coming two to three years?

We are working on some exciting projects. We are building a new logistics warehouse in the port and expanding our storage & operating platform.  We also have a new investment project – an intermodal terminal in Transylvania – meaning a more time & energy efficient hub for distribution throughout Europe. In the long term we plan to implement an intermodal hub in each major region of the country so that we can offer BCOs (Beneficial Cargo Owner) efficient alternatives to the current commodity consolidation points. 

Another ongoing priority is sustainability. We are developing energy efficient solutions for the Terminal, such as transitioning from diesel to electric equipment and increasing green energy production. 

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