THE MODERNIZATION OF THE BOURGAS PORT
On June 13 it was announced that construction of Bourgas Port's Terminal 2А was completed. At its official opening PM Simeon-Saxe-Coburg-Gotha said: The modernization and expansion of the Bourgas Port will make it a part of the common European Transport Corridor No 8. That terminal makes the port a modern facility with state-of-the art equipment and many abilities. It will bring to the improvement of links between Central Europe and Middle Asia.And Transport Minister Nikolay Vassilev overshot the mark by publicly declaring the undertaking one of the biggest construction and investment projects in the country and said that the Bourgas Port has always been the largest Bulgarian port, bigger than all Bulgarian ports, taken together. The modernization is in fact financed by a YEN14.312BN (about BGN212MN) loan, extended by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The remaining YEN4.77BN (BGN70.8MN) should be paid by the budget. Without straining oneself, we can think of at least two far bigger investment projects - the reconstruction and modernization of the Plovdiv-Svilengrad railway (worth EUR349MN) and the building of the new Sofia Airport (worth EUR212MN). It's more important, however, that both the Premier and Mr. Vassilev forgot to specify that the entire port had to be ready this spring, equipped with a terminal, a wall breakwater, and a deepened canal. But the set terms were not observed and the modernization may be completed only in 2007. The inaccurate and incomplete geological research proved to be the reason for that. Not a single expert noticed that huge quantities of munitions from the First World War had been buried in the port's entrance canal. The project's contractors - the Japanese consortium between Penta Ocean and Mitsubishi JV, and the Austrian one between VAB and Va tech, pre-estimated their removal at additional EUR30-35MN.It is still not known where that money will come from. In the beginning of 2004 the Audit Office established that BGN13.1MN from the Transport Ministry's budget for 2004 had been earmarked for the financial participation in the projects for the ports of Bourgas and Lom, and the amount projected for 2005 had been cut down to BGN4.2MN. The audit report read that part of the interest on the Japanese loan was paid off by funds, projected for Reconstruction and Electrification of the Plovdiv-Svilengrad railway. This, however, did not stop the rulers boasting with the new terminal, worth USD81MN. They seem to have forgotten that the new facility would not be of much use, at least until the enlargement of the Bourgas Port's entrance canal, that will allow loading and unloading of vessels of quite bigger tonnage.