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EBRD Vice-President visits Moldova’s strategic Giurgiuleşti port

By Vanora Bennett

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  • EBRD Vice-President Alain Pilloux visits Giurgiuleşti International Free Port
  • EBRD is sole owner of Danube Logistics SRL, operator of the port
  • In cooperation with government, Bank aims to attract strong investors to further develop port

Alain Pilloux, Vice-President, Banking at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), paid a visit today to Giurgiuleşti International Free PortMoldova’s only sea-river port. The Bank is the sole owner of Danube Logistics SRL, the operator of the port.

Mr Pilloux made his trip to the port at the end of a three-day trip to Moldova for meetings with government and other partners. He welcomed the professional management of the port by Danube Logistics SRL and stressed the importance of Moldova’s only international port to the country’s trade and economy, especially in the context of the war on Ukraine.

He said: “The EBRD has been supporting the construction and operation of the Giurgiuleşti port since 1995. We are actively working to promote the continuation of the successful operation and development of this key infrastructure asset and welcome its increased throughput in 2022, including exports from and to Ukraine, at a time of concern over regional food and energy security.”

Giurgiuleşti International Free Port exports grain and vegetable oil and imports fuel, construction materials and general cargo. Overall year-on-year volumes moving through the port have more than doubled so far in 2022, reaching 804,029 tonnes, This is mainly due to increasing imports of petroleum oil products, coal and fertiliser and exports of grains and vegetable oil.

Existing grain transhipment and storage facilities are increasingly used for grain originating from Ukraine, which in peacetime exports around 15 per cent of the world’s grain, said Mathias von Tucher, General Director of Danube Logistics. The blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports by Russia means this grain must now be exported by other routes, including via the Danube.

By end-2021, figures from the Ministry of Economy also show, the port was employing 553 people, up seven per cent from 2020. In 2021, salaries rose 22 per cent, investments rose 43.5 per cent, transhipment was up 52.4 per cent and tax payments rose by 149 per cent. A total of €100 million has been invested in the port since 2005, said von Tucher.

The EBRD acquired 100 per cent ownership of Danube Logistics group companies on 7 May 2021.

During Mr Pilloux’s visit, the EBRD welcomed a Moldovan court ruling on Tuesday which confirmed that the EBRD is the rightful indirect owner of shares in I.C.S. Danube Logistics SRL, overruling a challenge by Bemol, a company related to one of the port’s previous owners. The decision is final and irrevocable.

Mr Pilloux’s visit follows the signing in June of a €300 million EBRD loan to support Moldova’s energy security.

This fell within the €2 billion Resilience and Livelihoods Framework that the EBRD put together this spring to help Ukraine and neighbouring countries withstand the challenges of war, which has displaced millions of Ukrainians, including to Ukraine. The framework ranges from restructuring and emergency liquidity support for enterprises and recovery support for small and medium-sized enterprises to support for energy security.

In Moldova’s case, the EBRD is working closely with the government both on boosting energy security and on food security, including by actively promoting the continued successful operation and development of Giurgiulesti Port with a view to attracting strong international investors.

On Monday and Tuesday, in Chisinau, Mr Pilloux met President Maia Sandu, Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita, Parliament Speaker Igor Grosu, Minister of Economy and EBRD Governor Sergiu Gaibu, National Bank of Moldova Governor Octavian Armasu, development partners and business clients.

The Bank is a leading institutional investor in Moldova and, to date, has invested more than €1.7 billion in the country through 158 projects.

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