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Thursday, 23 July

Visit of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban alongside the Economy Minister Virgil Popescu at the Constanta Naval Shipyard and meeting with the shipyard management

Press statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban following his visit to Constanta Naval Shipyard

 

[Check Against Delivery]

 

Ludovic Orban: I wanted to be present at the Constanta Naval Shipyard, like I was at other naval shipyards, in my visits to Braila and Tulcea. What is characteristic to Constanta is that this shipyard is held by a Romanian company, it has a 128 –year long tradition. The first ship “Crai Nou”, if I am not wrong, Mr. Director General, was built some 125 years ago. A naval shipyard with tradition, that had the capacity to adapt and which represents an extremely important economic activity. We are now on a ship which was built during the epidemic. Throughout the COVID-19 epidemic, the shipyard has been operating continuously and we are on a ship that was built and is about to be launched on August 14. It is, in fact, an extremely modern ship, a ship with a high level of automation, with a remarkable control technology of all systems, a ship that is operated by a navigating crew of 16 and that is part of a set of 40,000-tonne ships that are manufactured by the Constanta Shipyard. At the same time, the Constanta Shipyard, together with Naval Group, have been declared the winners of the tender for the four multirole corvettes. Practically, the four corvettes will be manufactured here as part of this extremely important project. In fact, if you look, you see that "King Ferdinand" Frigate is being repaired at this Shipyard, it is practically undergoing extremely laborious repair works.

 The production and repair industry is one of great importance to Romania, an industry that is facing questions and that requires a very serious partnership with the Government, so that we can ensure the further development of this industry. I am ready to answer your questions.

Reporter: I would like to ask you, as we have the quarantine and isolation Law…

Ludovic Orban: I will not answer questions on this subject now, only about the place we are here now.

Reporter: /…/

Ludovic Orban: That seems to me a harassment that is difficult to accept. The main trial, namely the appeal against the decision to award the contract to the Naval Group Consortium - Constanta Naval Shipyard was rejected by a final court decision. In my opinion, the final negotiations can begin for the signing of the construction contract, even if there is still a dispute which, once again, no longer has any basis. As long as the court has ruled by final decision on the main subject, namely the decision to choose the consortium performing the contract, from my point of view there is no longer a legal problem for negotiating and signing the contract. There are elements that need to be discussed, linked to the time elapsed between the moment when the contract was signed, and the moment of declaring the winner  or launching the auction, and the moment the contract will be signed.

There are talks related to the clarification of the offset problems. There are also talks related to a flexible advance, which can be granted for the contract achievement. There may be talks related to the effects of Ordinance 114, on the labor force costs. All these talks should be put on the table, clarified and the contract should be signed, it is a very important contract for the Romanian Army’s endowment.

Reporter: You visited three naval shipyards: Braila, Tulcea and Constanta. Which are the problems which were raised there and in the resolution of which, the Government should have been involved…

Ludovic Orban: There are specific issues. For example, the shipyard in Brăila now, in addition to building ships, built the decks for the bridge in Brăila. The shipyard in Tulcea has a profile of cruise ships, they build cruise ships. The Constanta Shipyard has a different profile, it provides the ship repair service. The problems vary from situation to situation, it depends on the contracts existing at the time the epidemic started, it depends on the evolution of different markets, but I think it can increase the share in total ship production of shipyards in Romania and in general, of shipyards in Europe, which have a fairly small market share. There is room for growth. I know that this requires investment, efficiency, competitiveness and all the discussions I have with the representatives of the shipyards are towards finding solutions to boost the competitiveness of these companies.

Reporter: This year will mark 45 years since the construction of the Constanţa Shipyard /.../, Romania has become one of the largest producers of gross tonnage ships. When we see a ship built for the Romanian commercial maritime fleet, which has disappeared and should reappear; in shipyards we have navigators, we have ports, we have service companies in the naval fields / ... /.

Ludovic Orban: I admit that I am not a specialist in this field. The issue of shipping is a complex one involving many aspects. I can't give you an answer. Of course I regret that we lost our merchant fleet. I regret that there is no company under the Romanian flag, with Romanian capital, that can carry out the maritime freight transport, but I am sure that there will be initiatives in this field, especially private initiatives, such as this naval shipyard, so that we can develop in this field as well, but I repeat, this is a special field, which has many specific characteristics. Basically, a business like this has to be approached by people who have expertise and who know the conditions required for a successful business. If you have no more questions, thank you.



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