BUCHAREST: DP World Romania has more than doubled its container shipping operating capacity in the Black Sea port of Constanta following investment that will also boost cargo and other freight, its chief executive officer said.

The operator, part of the UAE's DP World, has expanded its operations in Constanta, adding project cargo facilities, used for high value and complex equipment, and a roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) terminal that can handle up to 80,000 vehicles per year.

It has also completed this year a logistics hub in western Romania, connecting the country's industrial heartland by road and rail to the port of Constanta, where it will add an additional multi-transport platform next year. The upgrades cost a total of 130 million euros ($139.31 million), including European Union grants.

"There are several new trade flows we are interested in attracting and permanently keeping," DP World Romania CEO Cosmin Carstea told Reuters in an interview, "specifically supply flows to and from Turkey and Georgia, respectively, to Romania and Europe."

With project cargo, Carstea said the company was targeting wind turbines and factory relocations, while its ro-ro terminal could attract trucks, trailers and other heavy vehicles.

"We see potential for furniture, automotive, consumer goods industries, imports and exports in equal measure," he said, adding the company estimated the platform will reach 100% usage in five years.

The new facilities more than double the company's container shipping capacity to 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from the 700,000 TEUs it handled in 2023, Carstea said.

For other types of cargo, the facilities can increase flows by around two million metric tons per year. The overall traffic of goods in Constanta totalled 92.5 million tons in 2023, up 22.5% on the year, port data showed.

Exports of Ukrainian grain through Constanta and infrastructure investment helped to lift operations in the port, but interest was also boosted as companies relocated operations to Eastern European low-cost manufacturing hubs to shorten supply chains.

DP World Romania has also acquired an up-to-date scanner that will be given to the state's customs agency. The scanner can process up to 60 trucks per hour, compared with four scans per hour at present, Carstea said.

He said Russia's war in Ukraine had only a limited impact on costs for the port of Constanta.

By contrast, Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea mean a ship travelling to Constanta from Asia needs 60 days to arrive, compared with 36 days before the attacks, he said. ($1 = 0.9332 euros) (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; editing by Barbara Lewis)