Transport in Romania

Transport in Romania

Due to its location, Romania is a major crossroad for international economic exchange in Europe and international transports.

According to the Romanian Constitution, the transport infrastructure is public property of the state. Therefore, these assets are being administered by national or lower government entities, or companies, or corporations, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transports (MTCT) or the Ministry of Administration and Interior who may award these assets for concession, in accordance with the provisions of the Romanian laws.

The Ministry of Transportation through general directorates is in charge of setting up the transport strategy and policy, defining the needs in terms of network development, dealing with international organizations and organizing the transport operation through licensing of operators and setting up rules and regulations for the transport sector.

Roads and automotive transport

According to CIA Factbook, Romania total road network is estimated to be 198,817 km long, out of which 60,043 km are paved and 138,774 km (2004) are unpaved. World Bank estimates that the road network that is outside of cities and communes (i.e. excluding streets and village roads) is about 78,000 km long. Public roads in Romania (excluding street networks) are classified in a three-tier system:
* national (main) roads (14,500 km)
* district or county roads (app. 36,000 km)
* communal roads (app. 28,000 km).

The national roads are administered and managed by the National Company for Motorways and National Roads (RNCMNR) - an entity under the Ministry of Transports, Constructions and Tourism. The county roads are administered by the county council and managed by the county's technical department. The communal roads are administered and managed by the village councils aided by the county council's technical office.

Road financing is arranged through a Road Fund, which received 45% of the fuel excise tax and a vignette. This fuel excise tax income was shared between national (65%) and county roads (35%). The road fund income covers administrative expenses, routine maintenance, loan service payments, and limited rehabilitation costs of the national roads. It covers also, as main source of financing, parts of the costs of county roads' rehabilitation and maintenance, even though insufficient. Recently, the Government of Romania has issued a policy letter for the road sector. It includes, inter alia, a study to modernize Romanian road fund and road financing. Over the past decade RNCMNR has secured grants (EU-ISPA) and several loans from international financial institutions (IFIs) (the World Bank, EIB, EBRD) guaranteed by the state, to upgrade its main road corridors. Also, the Government is actively pursuing new external IFI financing or Public-Private Partnerships to further upgrade the main roads and improve RNCMNR institutional capacity. RNCMNR's multi-year Highway Development Program and a multi-year Highway Rehabilitation Program are both primarily funded through loans and grants. The communal road network has recently begun receiving support from EU's SAPARD program and the World Bank's Rural Development Project.

Road transport - inside and between the localities - is privatized and performed by numerous buses and trucks operated either by their owners or bus and trucking companies.

The issue of road safety has been moving inexorably up the policy agenda in Romania. As in the rest of the world, road accidents are responsible for many deaths and serious injuries each year. In an effort to curb this trend in Central and Eastern Europe, a strategic alliance has recently been formed between the Dutch programme Partners for Roads and the World Bank to jointly contribute to further the development and incorporation of safe road design and to facilitate the transfer of knowledge in Romania as well as in a number of other countries.


As of February 2008, only 280 km are in use. Nevertheless, the extensive upgrade motorway network is among the top priorities for the government. There are plans to build another 1,000km of motorways in a first stage which by optimistic forecasts will be ready by 2013. Currently under construction is the Autostrada Transilvania, which is currently the largest motorway project in Europe at 415km from Brasov to Oradea (Hungary border). This project is expected to be completed by 2013. []

Road traffic

According to, in 2004 in Romania there were:
* 3,225,000 automobiles
* 43,000 buses and coaches
* 482,000 lorries and vans
* 235,000 motorcycles and mopeds

Rail transport

World Bank estimates that the railway network in Romania comprised in 2004 22,298 km of track, of which 36% electrified and 27% double track, which would make it the fourth largest railroad network in Europe [ [,6583,19847,00.html RAD Equipment Connects Hundreds of Train Stations in Integrated Railway Information System (IRIS) - RAD Data Communications ] ] . According to, in 2004, the railways carried 8.64 billion passenger-km in 99 million passenger journeys. In addition it carried 73 million metric tones, or 17 billion ton-km of freight. The combined total transportation by rail constituted around 45% of all passenger and freight movement in the country.

In terms of size and scale of operations, railways are comparable with larger EU railways. However, as in other centrally planned economies, Romanian railways had very short lengths of haul, averaging only 250 km. Consequently, the railways experienced a dramatic fall in freight and passenger volumes from the peak volumes recorded in 1989 mainly due to the decline in GDP and competition from road transport. The rail share fell significantly from 80% for freight and 70% for passenger traffic in 1960, to less than 40% for freight, and to about 50% for passenger travel by 2001. Road transport competes aggressively with rail and has continued to gain in the share of the combined freight market (in terms of tonnage), and of the intercity passenger transport market (in terms of number of passengers). International trade is still important for the Romanian railways with imports accounting for 11% of the traffic, exports about 6%, and transit about 1%.

Railways incurred losses caused by decline in market share, overstaffing, outdated equipment, and historical non-payment by many loss-making state-owned enterprises. The railways could not finance maintenance and investment in facilities and equipment. Railways covered the losses by accumulating arrears to the state and through debt to other creditors. As a result, the Government launched a railway reform program in 1996 – supported by World Bank, EBRD, EU-PHARE. The previous state railway company SNCFR was initially separated into five companies, subsequently merged into three: infrastructure (CFR), freight (SNCFR Marfa), and passenger (SNCFR Calatori), with the state as the sole shareholder in all three. The restructuring also created a regulatory agency (AFER) within MTCT, in addition to the Ministry's railway department that coordinates the operations of the railway companies.

The infrastructure company owns the track, buildings (stations and other buildings), depots, the majority of surplus assets (wagons and locomotives), and also owns and operates some other non-core activities such as hotels (however, non-core activities have been continuously reduced in the past years). CFR's main income source is the Track Access Charge (TAC) levied on all the operating companies. The passenger company provides extensive but uncompetitive passenger services at low tariffs. This is supported by the state through Public Service Contract. The freight railway company, Marfa, is managed commercially, receives no subsidies, and legally has the freedom to manage and set tariffs.

The three railway companies, CFR, Calatori and Marfa, own several subsidiaries which sell services for them and other purchasers. In the last years the MTCT has licensed a few private rail freight operators which share the use of the rail tracks and pay the TAC to CFR. The private operators now have 10-15% of the rail freight market.Romania Railways has several sovereign guarantee loans (the World Bank, EBRD, EIB, JBIC) and grants (EU-ISPA) to improve the physical facilities, especially in the main corridors, the rolling stock, and organization and management of the railways.


Bucharest is the only city in Romania which as of 2007 has an underground railway system, comprising both the Bucharest Metro and the light rail system Regia Autonomă de Transport Bucureşti. Although construction was planned to begin in 1941, due to geo-political factors, the Bucharest Metro was only opened in 1979. Now is one of the most accessed systems of the Bucharest public transport network with an average of 750,000 [ [ Traficul se muta in subteran ro] ] passengers during the workweek. In total, the network is 63 km long and has 45 stations.

Rail links with adjacent countries

* Ukraine - yes - Break-of-gauge 1435mm/1524mm. Crossings at Vicşani, Valea Vişeului and Câmpulung-la-Tisa (including bogey conversion systems). Dual-gauge track exists between Tereseva (Ukraine)/Câmpulung-la-Tisa - Sighetu Marmaţiei - Valea Vişeului, going back into Ukraine. Ukrainian trains (both freight and passenger services) occasionally use this route without stopping within Romania. International passenger services exists between Bucharest and Kiev (and onwards to Moscow) via Vicşani (operated by CFR, with UZ and RZD cars) and between Sighetu Marmaţiei and Tereseva (operated by UZ). No voltage issues (crossings are not electrified).
* Moldova - yes - Break-of-gauge 1435mm/1524mm. Crossings and bogey changers exist at Ungheni-Prut and Galaţi-Reni. No voltage issues (None of the tracks of the Moldovan Railways are electrified). Daily passenger service to Chişinău from Bucharest. Multiple daily services from Iaşi.
* Hungary - yes - Multiple crossings (from North to South - Carei, Valea lui Mihai, Episcopia Bihor, Salonta, Curtici. Multiple daily passenger frequencies to Budapest and beyond (Vienna, Prague) from Bucharest and from many cities within Transylvania. No voltage issues, both railroad systems electrified at 25 kV, 50 Hz alternative current (electrified crossing at Curtici/Lokoshaza only).
* Serbia - yes - crossings at Jimbolia and Stamora Moraviţa. Daily service from Bucharest to Belgrade via Timişoara. No voltage issues (crossings are not electrified).
* Bulgaria - yes - crossings at Giurgiu and Negru Vodă. Daily passenger service to Sofia and beyond (Athens and Istanbul) from Bucharest. No voltage issues (crossings are not electrified).

Air transport

According to Eurostat ( [,45323734&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&screen=welcomeref&open=/&product=REF_TB_aviation&depth=2] ), 6.908.599 passengers were transported by commercial aircraft in 2007, an increase of 41% from 2006.

The national flag carrier, TAROM, is almost fully state owned (99.85% of it belongs to different state authorities), and there are no current prospects for its further privatization. The air transport infrastructure (airports) is managed by a "National Company" for international airports, with the Ministry of Transports, Constructions and Tourism as the owner and the administrator. The other airports (serving only national air traffic) are organized as "Autonomous Operator" ("Regie Autonomă"), which are local public companies.


There are 61 airports in Romania (estimated as of 2006).

*Airports - with paved runways : 25
**"Runways over 3,047 m:" 4
**"Runways from 2,438 to 3,047 m:" 9
**"Runways from 1,524 to 2,437 m:" 12

*Airports - with unpaved runways : 36
**"Runways from 1,524 to 2,437 m:" 2
**"Runways from 914 to 1,523 m:" 11
**"Runways under 914 m:" 23

*Heliports 1 (2006)

Water transport

Maritime transport

In the maritime and inland waterways transport sector, similar principles have been adopted where State owned bodies or entities are in charge of the port infrastructure and award concessions to private bodies for port operations. The ports and navigation infrastructure are administered by the APM-SA Constanta National Company, CAN-SA Constanta National Company, APDF-SA Giurgiu National Company, APDM-SA Galati National Company, and AFDJ-SA Galati Autonomous Regie.


* with terminals
**Port of Constanţa (the biggest port and shipyard in the Black Sea and the 9th busiest port in Europe)
**Port of Galaţi (on the Danube)
**Brăila (on the Danube)
**Tulcea (on the Danube)

* Other Black Sea ports:

* Other ports on the Danube:
**Drobeta-Turnu Severin

* Ports on the Danube-Black Sea Canal:
**Poarta Albă
**Constanţa Sud

"See also" Romanian river ports


As of 2006, there are 1,731 km of navigable waterways of which:
* 1,075 km on Danube River
* 524 km on secondary branches
* 132 km on canals

In 2004, according to, 19 million passenger-km and 4 billion ton-km were carried through these waterways.

Merchant fleet

The merchant marine has seen a dramatic drop in capacity over the past decade:
* from 142 ships (GRT|1,000|metric|first=yes or over) totaling GRT|1,154,127|metric/DWT|1,612,314|metric|first=yes 1999
* to 19 ships (GRT|1000|metric or over) GRT|146,307|metric/DWT|165,548 in 2007.

Of these there are: cargo ship 13, passenger ship 1, passenger/cargo ship 2, petroleum tanker 2, roll-on/roll-off 1.

Another 50 other ships that are registered in other countries are present: Cambodia 1, Georgia 15, North Korea 6, Malta 10, Marshall Islands 1, Panama 8, Sierra Leone 2, St Kitts and Nevis 1, St Vincent and The Grenadines 1, Syria 4, Tuvalu 1, unknown 4.

International sea-borne freight traffic

* goods loaded: 18.2 million tons
* goods unloaded: 22.3 million tons (2004)

= Pipelines =

*Oil: 2,427 km
*Natural gas: 3,508 km (2006)

External links

* [ Prediction of Romanian infrastructure] .
* [ Trains of Romania]
* [ Trains Timetable 2008]
* [ Bus Timetable of Romania]
* [ Bucharest Airport Henri Coanda]
* [ Cluj-Napoca International Airport]
* [ Timisoara Airport Traian Vuia]


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