Repere privind agențiile companiilor străine de navigație în porturile românești și relaționarea acestora cu autoritățile române (1878 – 1918)

On the Foreign Shipping Companies in the Romanian Ports and Their Relation to Romanian Authorities (1878-1918)

  • Ionel Constantin MITEA "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati
Keywords: shipping companies, shipping agencies, Maritime Danube, naval authorities, diplomatic mission


Between 1878 and 1918, a period marked by the achievement of Romania's state independence and the end of the First World War, we witnessed a significant increase in the activity of foreign shipping companies in the Lower Danube region. An important role in consolidating and representing foreign shipping companies in Romanian harbours, was played by their agencies, whose presence has a significant contribution to the stimulation of commercial activities on the Maritime Danube and implicitly the development process of Romanian harbours. Appointment of the agents was made by request to port representatives in accordance with the procedures set out in the "Port Police Regulations" and in accordance with the General Customs Law. Following the completion of the appointment formalities, the port authorities informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in writing, about the appointment of the agent of a foreign company in one of the Romanian ports. The duties of foreign shipping companies were as follows: the right to receive goods to be shipped with the ships of that company, the issuance of documents concerning the loading of goods, the collection of money due to the company, the shipment of goods arriving within the country, the relationship with local authorities and the preparation of petitions and requests of the company to various institutions in Romania. An important condition for the appointment as an agent of a foreign shipping company in a Romanian port was the quality of being a good ”connoisseur” of commercial and transport affairs, as well as of the specifics of the respective port. The agents of the shipping companies had a “double concern”, namely that of gathering information for the benefit of the member states of these companies, a fact highlighted by their subsequent appointment to diplomatic positions. Along with the significant development of the volume of activities of the navigation agencies on the Romanian Danube, we have also witnessed the diversification of the level of their litigation with the Romanian authorities or with third parties.