The new container terminals at the country's two key Black Sea ports of Varna and Burgas will be granted on concession, officials have announced.
"We plan to hold contests to grant the two terminals on concession once construction works are launched. In this way the state can avoid paying back the loan from the Japanese banks, which the previous government negotiated," Deputy Transport Minister Kamen Kichev told journalists on Saturday.
The current center-right government and the transport ministry, led by Alexander Tsvetkov, have been considering the possibility not to build these terminals, but now experts say this is the only option.
In the summer of 2008 the previous Socialist-led government said it was going to borrow JPY 36,932 B, equal to about EUR 220 M, from Japanese banks in order to construct new container terminals at the country's Black Sea ports of Varna and Burgas.
The loan must be paid up in 25 years; it has a seven-year grace period, and an annual interest rate of 1,4%.
The container terminals of the port of the Bulgarian Black Sea capital of Varna are planned to be moved to the Maksuda Quarter, whereas a new tourist zone will be created on there present territory. It will include a yacht port, aquarium, hotels, restaurants, and recreation facilities.