Europe's Southeastern Gateway: Responding to Rapidly Changing Patterns of World Shipping. The University's Role



World trade and transportation are changing dramatically. Energy prices and transport sustainability concerns are reinvigorating ocean freighter shipping. An ever-increasing portion of trade is in containers, and container ships are getting larger quickly. Many ports, nations and continents are not keeping up with ship size increases putting them at a trade disadvantage. Major canals and seaways must also upgrade or be rendered obsolete, causing a change in the pattern of world trade. Ports have to do more than expand vessel size limits. Port regions must also invest in infrastructure that improves multi-modal access to the port and augments hand-off of containers to smaller seaway ships, trains and trucks. With heightened security and evolving emphasis on flexible and efficient logistics, ports must become high-tech logistics hubs with improved real-time data about port throughput. Constanţa, Romania provides an example of an attempt to respond to this rapid change. Near the Danube Delta, on the Black Sea, Constanţa offers a potential southeastern gateway to Europe for the Black Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond. Ships from Asia, entering via the Suez Canal can easily access Constanţa, and thus save more than ten days of shipping time for destinations in southeastern Europe compared to shipping through Rotterdam or Hamburg. But Constanţa needs to make all the improvements mentioned above. Universities have several roles in this endeavor, including identifying and forecasting trends, providing the technical knowledge to develop high-tech logistics hubs, pursing publicprivate partnerships for infrastructure development and offering training.


containerization; logistics hub; multi-modal handoff; Danube; Constanţa; Romania

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