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Present and future of the container liner shipping on the Danube. Dr.-Ing. Saša Jovanović River Port Agency Manager. Belgrade Chamber of Commerce March 25, 2010. European Sea Gateways. North Western European Ports Area - 62% of GDP in Europe Southern European Ports Area

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present and future of the container liner shipping on the danube

Present and future of the container liner shipping on the Danube

Dr.-Ing. Saša Jovanović

River Port Agency Manager

Belgrade Chamber of Commerce

March 25, 2010

european sea gateways
European Sea Gateways

North Western European Ports Area

- 62% of GDP in Europe

Southern European Ports Area

- 26% of GDP in Europe

Central and Eastern European Area

- 12% of GDP in Europe, only 1% of direct sea freight

72% of the European distribution centres located in NW

  • North range ports: Le Havre, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Hamburg serving the most of Central and SE European countries
  • Adriatic ports growing fast: Koper, Rijeka, Trieste
  • Port of Constantza in the Black Sea emerging from 2001
factors determining the port selection
Factors determining the port selection
  • Geographic misbalance of supply and demand of goods
  • Level of purchasing power in the hinterland
  • Level of industrialisation of the hinterland
  • Level of containerisation
  • Transit times on sea routes
  • Efficient hinterland connections
  • Port efficiency
  • Supply chain efficiency: time, cost and risk
  • Number of lines calling the port or port range
  • Emerging markets
  • However, congestion of land connections started causing modal and even geographical shift
central and se europe container flows
Central and SE Europe Container Flows

Austria (450.000 TEU)

  • North Sea ports: 70%
  • Adriatic ports: 30%
  • Black Sea ports: irrelevant

Hungary (250.000 TEU)

  • North Sea ports: 75%
  • Adriatic ports: 25%
  • Black Sea ports: irrelevant

Slovakia (100.000 TEU)

  • North Sea ports: 90%
  • Adriatic ports: 10%

Serbia (30.000 TEU)

  • North Sea ports: 2%
  • Adriatic north ports (Koper, Rijeka): 80%
  • Adriatic south ports (Bar): 13%
  • Black Sea ports: 5%
emerging of the port of constantza
Emerging of the Port of Constantza
  • Growing transshipment port
  • Emerging markets in the Black Sea
  • Potentials for geographical shift
  • Congestion of the hinterland connections from the North Sea ports range
  • Vast capacity of the inland waterways transport
  • Growing concern for environmental effects of transport
  • Launching of first liner services on the Danube: Constantza – Giurgiu and Constantza - Belgrade
case study belgrade constantza line
Case Study: Belgrade – Constantza Line



  • It is a very well known fact that Serbia is a landlocked country
  • In such position, orientation towards the nearby seaports as hubs is a must
  • Nevertheless, Danube “Sea” offers vast possibilities for strategic transport orientation towards Constantza port hub
  • The Danube “12-lanes highway” offers good possibilities for reaching the maximum benefits – maximum number of TEU at minimal costs






motivation and first experiences
Motivation and first experiences
  • Then came the idea…
  • Jugoagent undertook an analysis of cargo flows in Serbia
  • Results showed that both freight rates and inland haulage routes from/to traditional export-import ports (in the Adriatic, Aegean, Med and North Sea) were fairly stable
  • It seemed that no alternative could be foreseen
  • But…
  • As general agents for ZIM ISS Jugoagent strongly supported a direct Constantza call of ZIM’s Far East liner services from where originate the great share of Serbian import cargoes
  • Danube proved to be the best possible option for inland haulage to/from Serbia
  • Best partner for inland haulage via the Danube found in Bulgarian River Shipping
  • Port of Belgrade offered strong support and exclusive conditions
the beginning
The beginning...
  • Jugoagent activated a strong marketing campaign
  • Industry was attracted by attractive rates, acceptable transit time and contingency plans in case of nautical hindrances
  • Jugoagent’s clients accepted the challenge
  • Official opening of the eastbound service took place in the Port of Belgrade on May 12, 2005.
  • Port of Belgrade became an important gate for cargoes to/from Mediterranean, USA, Middle and Far East and Australia and for import cargoes from Far East and other world areas
development and expansion
Development and expansion
  • Looking for a convenient self-propelled vessel, adjusted to nautical conditions on the Danube, capable of carrying reefer containers
  • Expansion N-NW in cooperation with EDDSG in Marco Polo II
  • Expansion downstream and further eastwards, directly connecting via water the region with Black Sea ports of Novorossiysk and Odessa and the huge market of ex Soviet Union where duty free trade agreements with Serbia are in force
  • Great opportunity for Serbian exporters of fruit and vegetables and cargoes requiring refrigeration during transport
  • Monitoring of the shipping situation and cargo flows in the Adriatic, which in great extent influences the transport via the Danube
prospects of container shipping on the danube
Prospects of container shipping on the Danube
  • Increasing purchasing power for wide consumption goods
  • Increasing level of industrialisation
  • Boosting economy and increase of FDI
  • More than 70% of containerised cargoes arriving to Europe originate from Asia
  • Port of Constantza being in East Europe will eventually become the “eastern gate”
  • Transit time from Far East is 4 to 5 days shorter when compared to North Range ports (Le Havre, ARA, Hamburg)
  • Congestion in North Range ports, road taxes environmental effects
prospects of container shipping on the danube1
Prospects of container shipping on the Danube
  • Romanian investments in hinterland connections (IWT and rail)
  • Better gravity position to serve the main economic centres in CEE
  • However, higher volumes are needed in order to enjoy the benefits of the economies of scale
  • “Two container layers cover the costs, the third one makes the money”
  • Development of inland (river) ports “large multi-modal business & logistics parks”
  • Port privatisations, at least in Serbia, will have to be revised (need for public financing of infrastructure)
  • Initially, large fleets are needed for the smaller volumes
thank you for your attention
Thank you for your attention!

Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 165a

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