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Shipping Canal: Danube Black Sea Canal

Posted in Shipping Canal - 31 May 2021, 3:32 PM

Danube Black Sea Canal has a rather unsettling history behind its construction. It was initially constructed by the communist authority of Romania, using the labor of their political prisoners. As the authority made the labor closer to an elimination of their political opponents, it was predicted as many as 20,000 detainees worked on the excavation of the canal. It had caused several thousand deaths due to the impracticality of the work condition.

The construction started between 1949 and 1953. When the communist authority finally went into bankruptcy, the excavation stopped and did not restart until some 20 years later.

Danube Black Sea Canal Connects Central Europe to the Open Sea

When international trade and industry were uprisings, the countries in Central Europe needed to find a more massive way to move goods in and out of the land. Without any connection to the sea, the only possible way was to travel through the rivers and follow them to the sea.

The Danube River has its delta towards the Black Sea through three branches, yet it was unlikely to be feasible for cargo traffic due to its natural conditions. This motivated a proposal for a canal that would link the North Sea and the Black Sea, and cross the lands in Central Europe.

Instead of taking a farther turn at the Port of Galati, Tulcea, and Salina, the canal cut down the travel route of the ships to the Port of Cernavodă. At which, the ships could navigate to the Black Sea through the Port of Albă–Midia Năvodari at the northern branch, or the Port of Constanța at the southern branch. The existence of the Port of Cernavodă and the Danube–Black Sea Canal cuts down the distance, time, and cost it takes to travel to the Black Sea.

Crossing Rivers and Land Made Effectively

The Danube River is the second-longest river in Europe. It flows through Germany down to the Black Sea. Through Central Europe, the countries that do not have direct access to the sea use this river to increase the trade activity in and out of the country.

However, to get to the Black Sea, the ships need to follow its delta that is divided into three branches. Although possible, the trip through the river’s branches is not ideal, especially for shipping vessels that need particular space and depth to navigate.

After its reconstruction in 1973, the canal had succeeded in cutting down the distance by 250 miles by pulling the port closer in Cernavodă. The width of the canal is up to 490 feet, making the canal easily navigable by large vessels with a depth of 23 feet.

Two locks are supporting the navigable canal, which is located in Cernavodă and Agigea. It helps the vessels to go through the canal’s elevation smoothly, with a transfer time of around 60 minutes for each chamber. Although the Danube–Black Sea Canal can see a potential improvement in the future, now it is still one of the most important waterways in the region—continuing to serve its purpose in making cargo transport more effective and efficient.

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