Bulgaria Courts Austrian Investors for Danube Ports Concessions

Tourism | April 4, 2012, Wednesday // 17:50|  views

Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski has voiced hoped that Austrian investors will show interest in concessions of Danube ports. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria expects to lure Austrian investors into becoming concessionaires of a number of Bulgarian ports on the Danube, according to Ivaylo Moskovski, Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications.

"We have so far enjoyed a very good cooperation with Austrian investors and I hope that their interest in interest in our country will deepen in the future," Moskovski said Wednesday during the Vienna Economic Forum held in Sofia on April 3-4.

The Transport Minister illustrated his point with the projects for the modernization of the Septemvri – Plovdiv and Dimitrovgrad – Svilengrad railway lines, specifying that Austrian companies were contractors on certain sections of the tracks.

"We are now working on the concession contracts for a number of Danube ports, among which Ruse, Vidin, Lom, Nikopol and Tutrakan. Considering the huge importance of the Danube for Austria, we are hoping that these sites will attract investments on their part," he added.

"Attracting foreign investments is one of the key priorities of our government," Moskovski stressed.

"Our ultimate goal is to make sure that Bulgaria has a modern and competitive transport sector. In cases where this is possible, we work actively for the absorption of EU funds, but where no money has been earmarked for the development of the sites, we need to look for other funding opportunities. Such a mechanism is public-private partnership, and concession contracts in particular," the Transport Minister announced.

He argued that concessions were a very good option for Bulgarian ports and airports because they guaranteed a long-term partnership while the state retained ownership of the site.

Moskovski assured that Bulgaria was using all instruments available to encourage interest in sites eligible to be granted under concession.

As an example of the results achieved through Bulgaria's activities he cited Qatar's interest in the Bulgaria's Black Sea town of Balchik.

"We have all reasons to believe that it will lead to a long-term partnership which will turn Balchik in an airport of national and regional significance," the Transport Minister concluded.

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Tags: Danube ports, Transport Minister, Ivaylo Moskovski, concession, concessionaire, Austrian companies, investors


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