DPI, which beat off competition from Contship Italia, Dragados of Spain, HiliPort of Malta and three Romanian companies for the 18-year rental concession, is expected to sign a formal agreement in early 2004. The next stage in the project implementation will be the takeover of operations of the existing container terminal.

‘We plan to invest in new handling equipment to increase throughput to 900,000 TEUs [20-foot equivalent units],’ DPI managing director Mohammed Sharaf told MEED on 8 December. At present, the container terminal has capacity to handle 350,000 TEUs.

The terminal at Port of Constantza has a 625-metre-long berth, with a 14-metre draught. It is equipped with three post-Panamax quay, eight rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) and two rail-mounted gantry cranes. DPI plans to install an additional quay crane and two RTGs, besides IT equipment and systems.

The two main shipping lines that serve the container terminal are Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and France’s CMA-CGM. ‘The Black Sea port will serve as an entry for us [DPI] to move into Europe,’ Sharaf said.

DPI is already the operator of Jeddah Islamic port, Djibouti port and the southern Indian deepwater port of Gangavaram (MEED 4:10:02; 26:1:01).