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Constanta, on its way to be Europe’s biggest grain transport hub

Constanta, on its way to be Europe’s biggest grain transport hub

Romania, now the top wheat supplier to Egypt’s state grain agency after wresting contracts from Russia and France, has attracted farm managers such as Germany’s AIS Europe GmbH, Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., CHS Inc., Cargill Inc.

The Romanian port exported 8.7 million tons of grain last year, up from 5.39 million in 2012. Rouen, France’s busiest grain hub, exported 7.35 million tons in 2013, compared with 5.45 million tons the prior year, port data show. Constanta handled 9.5 million tons of grain through August, up 30 percent from 7.3 million tons a year earlier. Volume will top last year’s record 15.3 million tons by year end, according to port spokeswoman Monica Velic, bloomberg.com informs. “Buoyed by booming wheat and corn exports from Romania and its neighbors to the Middle East, grain volume passing through the port was up 30 percent by August from a year earlier and will top last year’s record by year end,”, Velic said. Cargill Inc., the largest closely held U.S. company, and freight handler Transport Trade Services more than doubled grain capacity at their Canopus Star terminal at Constanta in August.

“Grain exports will only continue to grow,” said Peter Beerents, chief executive officer of Cibus Farmland Club, a Dutch adviser setting up its third Romanian farm for family investors. “This is a land with a lot of natural riches.”

All these make from Constanta to be emerging as Europe’s biggest grain transport hub in the USD 4.2 billion global wheat trade, Bloomberg’s analysts appreciate.

“Output of grains has gradually increased in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia,” James Hyslop, director for Romania at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, said recently. “Constanta port was the main facility to benefit. It’s the only large port with sufficient capacity to serve the region.” Constanta’s potential remains curbed by lack of navigability of the Danube, Europe’s second-longest river after the Volga, according to Beerents of Cibus Farmland Club and Toma Dinu, dean of the faculty of management at Bucharest’s University of Agronomical Sciences.

Constanta ranked as the EU’s ninth-biggest dry bulk port by tonnage in 2012, behind Italy’s Taranto and the Belgian port of Antwerp, Eurostat data show. Rotterdam led the list.

About Anca Bernovici