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January 30, 2023
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Romanian Government Resumes Bucharest-Danube Canal Project: A New Bucharest Port

Bucharest Canal History

This project started during the regime under Nicolae Ceausescu in 1986. It was estimated that he invested approximately three billion Euros in making transportation and shipping easier between Bucharest and the black sea via the Danube. The project reached 70% completion when suddenly in 1989, after the Romanian Revolution, all progress and execution stopped.

Source: Stirile ProTV

Project Approaches

The Ministry of Transport participated in an auction in 2021 to update the feasibility study necessary for completing the Bucharest Canal project. They didn’t receive any bids or offers for the project.

It was only earlier in the current year that it received two offer bids and managed to operate the actualization of the project plan.

Bucharest Canal
Source: Evenimentul Zilei

The contract was relaunched by the national company, the Administration of the Navigable Canals. The company envisages and works towards “the arrangement of the Argeș and Dâmbovița rivers for navigation and other uses”. The designers and engineers involved from TPF Engineering and Aqua Protiv Proiect submitted the two offers to the contract at a value of approximately six million RON, on top of what was already invested. Some authorities estimate this to be Romania’s largest investment project in decades. Moreover, the duration of the contract was estimated at 11 months, and the offers’ evaluation must be completed by the 8th of December 2022.

Current Updates

As EconMedia tells us, the navigable path has a length of 73 kilometres. The Argeș River to Oltenita takes a level difference of 53 meters through four hydro-technical nodes (NH). On Dâmbovița, there is a level difference of 14 meters through 2 hydro-technical nodes. The cross-section is trapezoidal with a width at the base of 80 meters on Arges and 40 meters on Dâmboviţa and a minimum depth of 4,5 meters.

The total capacity of the waterway will be 24 million tons per year.

Bucharest - black sea canal
Source: Wikipedia

Public Opinion on Bucharest – Danube canal

This project created a divergence in opinions. On one side, the opposites of the project think about the massive ecologic impact it will have on the environment in the long term. Moreover, despite the decades that have passed since the communist regime, many Romanians still feel heavy thinking about the past and any associations tracing it back to it. The canal is seen as an unfortunate legacy of the communist regime.

On the other hand, supporters are happy because this will boost employment in the area, with approximately 21.700 new jobs. The canal is a cost and time-efficient method for cargo shipment between Bucharest and port Constanta. Moreover, it was forecasted that this Danube – Bucharest Canal could also be a significant energy producer through the four hydroelectric power plants established and arranged near the locks, leading to electricity production of over 50 MW. Outside of energy production, the canal could also be a source of irrigation for about 150.000 hectares of tillable land. This can further benefit local settlements and communities for irrigation and protecting their agricultural lands from flooding problems.

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