Gebrüder Weiss Opinion
Bucharest, 6 September 2023 – In the current geopolitical and economic context, where the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has generated a multitude of challenges on all fronts, and Asia remains one of the key partners in economic exchanges with Europe, the creation of alternative transportation routes that offer not only cost reduction but also reduced transport time, becomes increasingly important.
“Romania is one of the countries that can play a key role in the trade exchanges between Asian and European countries. Beyond the advantage of having a port of significant importance in the region, Romania’s major challenge is generated by the need for investments in infrastructure – both road and rail – to support the influx of goods that should transit through our country,” believes Viorel Leca, General Manager of Gebrüder Weiss Romania.
Romania – ranks 15th in Europe in terms of the volume of goods processed through maritime ports
A key aspect in considering Romania as a potential logistics hub is represented by the steady growth in the gross weight of goods processed in the country’s three maritime ports. According to the latest statistics from Eurostat*, as of 2022, Romania ranks 15th in the European ranking, with approximately 60 million tons of goods processed in 2022 through the Black Sea ports, with the tonnage showing consistent year-to-year increases.
In the context where Port of Constanta is the most important in Romania, statistical data regarding its performance** shows that the largest quantity of processed goods falls within the category of cereals, followed by crude oil and petroleum products. This once again demonstrates Romania’s relevance in the European economy.
A crucial moment that once again showcased Romania’s importance in the European and global economic system was the onset of the conflict in Ukraine. With the outbreak of the war in the region, Ukraine, at least initially and for certain customer categories, was no longer a desired transport option, regardless of mode – air, sea, or land. As a result, all those vessels that traditionally reached the port of Odessa were rerouted to the Port of Constanta.
Over the past decade, the Port of Constanta has efficiently served the flows of goods arriving to or departing from Central and Eastern Europe, including: Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova, Croatia, Slovakia, Austria, and southern Germany. The Geographic Position of the Port of Constanta allows the possibility of redirecting flows of goods coming from the Far East to the northwestern European ports through Romania, using the existing transportation network (rail, road, Danube-Black Sea Canal, and Danube River ports). Despite many political and economic changes that have taken place in this area and significantly influenced its development, the traditional transport routes utilizing the Port of Constanta have remained unchanged due to the competitive advantages of the port.
The economic growth witnessed in recent years in the Central and Eastern European countries provides Romania with the advantage of acting as a primary storage and distribution center for this region.
The challenges of positioning Romania as a regional logistics center
Romania is in a very favorable position to become a strategic regional gateway for trade and logistics in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region along the East-West axis, as it is included in two out of the nine corridors of the Trans-European Transport Network (Ten-T) – the Orient/East-Med Corridor and the Rhine-Danube Corridor.
Thus, Romania’s potential, especially in the current economic and geopolitical context, can only be supported through massive investments in road and rail infrastructure, necessary to facilitate rapid and efficient freight transportation. Additionally, legislative adjustments are required to ease such a strategic position for our country, while an improved fiscal environment (taxes, customs, etc.) also plays a significant role.
Furthermore, providing quality transport services at European standards becomes a crucial aspect. Precisely for this reason, Gebrüder Weiss Romania constantly invests in developing its network of logistics hubs and new transport solutions for its clients.
Gebrüder Weiss’ strategy is to strengthen its presence in Central Asia, which is evident through investments already allocated to expanding its branches from Central and Southeast Europe to the Caucasus and Central Asia, where the logistics company has its own branches in Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and even up to China.
In addition, the company has recently extended its presence in Georgia, given the increasing volume of goods, with the Tbilisi location offering more transshipment space and offices.
Gebrüder Weiss Holding AG, headquartered in Lauterach, Austria, is a global full-service logistics company with approximately 8,400 employees and 180 company-owned locations. In the recently concluded financial year, the company achieved an annual turnover of 3 billion euros (2022). Its portfolio includes transport and logistics solutions, digital services, and supply chain management. The combination of digital and physical expertise allows the company to respond rapidly and flexibly to customer needs. Through numerous ecological, economic, and social measures, the family-owned company, with a transportation history spanning over 500 years, is now recognized as a pioneer in sustainable economics.
Present in Romania since 1994, Gebrüder Weiss relies on a national infrastructure of logistics hubs located in Bucharest, Arad, Sibiu, Cluj, Bacău, Brașov, Constanța, and Craiova. The Sibiu branch was expanded in 2022, and construction began on a second logistics hub near Bucharest in 2023. The company provides its customers with intelligent logistics solutions and offers flexible distribution services through road, rail, air, and sea transport.