Routes of communication. – They are on the whole really insufficient. The railways measure a total distance of just 11,221 km. (1933); of them only 218 km. they are double track. Their distribution is very uneven. For example, in Transylvania the network is more or less sufficient, while in Bessarabia there are almost no railways in some areas. In general the proportion of 4 km. per 100 sq. km. (and 6 km. per 10,000 residents) is not related to the commercial movement of the country. Certain lines essential for the transport of raw materials, such as the Braşov-Buzău and the Petroşani-Târgu-Jiu, are not even finished. On the existing lines the material is clearly insufficient.
The road network, which could render great services where the railway is not enough, is even less satisfactory. It is estimated at 6 km. the proportion per 1000 residents, and over these 6 km. only 3,4 are gravel. In Bessarabia, where the situation is particularly sad, you have to count on 200 m. gravel per 1000 residents.
Fortunately, Romania has an excellent waterway in the Danube, through which cereals can reach the ports of embarkation. The river, well maintained, guarded at its delta by the European Commission of the Lower Danube, has very well equipped modern ports: Brăila, Galaţi, Sulina. They are frequented by an international fleet, in which the ships flying the Romanian flag represent a very modest proportion. The first place before the World War belonged to Great Britain, now overtaken by Greece.
Merchant marine. – Before the World War the Romanian government wanted to set up a state fleet to ensure, more than anything else, the Black Sea-Eastern Mediterranean trade. Thus was formed the Serviciul Maritim Român (SMR) – with which, in essence, the most recent Romanian maritime history is identified – with steamships of 3000 gross tons per unit, Princesa Maria, Regele Carol, România, Dacia, and 17-18 knots of speed for postal services, while those for cargo were entrusted to cargo boats of 9 knots and 2000-4000 tons. gross.
During the war this fleet remained in Galaţi; after the conflict it gradually resumed its services and, despite the inefficient conditions of the material, it had profits of 24,408 thousand lei; 42,451 thousand; 13,683 thousand in the years 1919-20; 1920-21; 1921-22. But in the following years (up to 1927) there were losses ascending to 220 million lei overall; and it must be considered that the balance sheets do not include either depreciation or insurance, since the state, the owner, did not insure its own material.
In 1929 the decision was made to “commercialize” the SMR, setting up a new private company, in which the state would intervene financially; but the related projects have not been implemented.
The stimulus towards private initiative, however, gave impetus to the establishment of other small, free armaments, so that at 30 June 1931 the Lloyd’s Register indicated the consistency of the Romanian navy in 31 steamers (in the 100 unit tons) for 65,921 tons. gross; figure passed, as of June 30, 1934, to 34 steamers per ton. gross 91,743.
Between Galali and the mouth of the Danube there is an intense grain traffic carried out with barges and tugs from the Navigaţiune Fluvial Româna (owned by the state, which has a floating park estimated at 360 million lei) and from the Româna de Navigaţiune Dunare.
Freight cabotage on the Danube and on the Black Sea coast are reserved for the national flag. As regards passenger traffic on the Danube, however, it is noteworthy that the Romanian authorities have granted the authorization to engage in cabotage to some foreign river companies.
Civil aviation. – The civil aviation of Romania depends on the headquartered in Bucharest, they are: the Royal Aero Club of Romania, affiliated to the International Aeronautical Federation; the Romanian Aeronautical Propaganda Association (ARPA), which aims to disseminate aviation through conferences and meetings; the Aero Club Culorei de Albastru, propaganda association; the aero-technical circle of Bucharest, which favors the development of technical studies concerning aeronautics.
The main airports are in Bucharest-Băneasa (hangars, workshops, supplies, radio-telegraph station, telephone and health service, aerial beacon); in Galaļi, Iaşi, Cluj and Costanza (with equal importance as that of Bucharest); in Chişinău, Cernăuţi and Timişoara (with only the possibility of hospitalization, supplies and engine repairs). Other minor stations in OradeaMare, Craiova, Cetatea-Albă, Arad and Sibiu. In Braşov there is a fully equipped airport, in the immediate vicinity of the Romanian Aeronautical Industries.
The Romanian airlines, all managed by the state, are: Bucharest-Constanta-Balcic, km. 304; Constance-Carmen Sylva-Mangalia, km. 55; Bucharest-Galaţi-Chisinău-Cernăuţi, km. 676. The aircraft used are Junkers F. 13 and Avia.
Foreign trade. – According to ebizdir, foreign trade has undergone many fluctuations since 1918. Until 1923, Romania, ruined by the world war, was unable to export anything and limited itself to absorbing everything its allies sent it. By 1927 the situation had become almost normal again. Imports represented 1,000,000 tons of manufactured goods. against 7,337,000 of exports; the consideration was 33,841 million lei for imports, 38,110 million lei for exports. These consisted mainly of cereals and derivatives, oil, timber, and represented a lower value of imports: manufactured products, semi-finished products, textiles, machines.
Since then the situation seems to have undergone an evolution in the opposite direction until 1933. In 1930 the excess of the balance was 5,477,865,000 lei. In 1931 it was 6,442,345,000 and in 1932 it dropped to 4,701,000,000 lei. These figures indicate not only a weakening of the trade movement connected to the economic and financial crisis that is troubling Romania, but above all a great change in the direction of trade. In 1932, imports no more than 449,913 tons. against 9.057.187 tons. exports; the corresponding value was 11,933,136,000 lei for imports and 16,654,463,000 for exports. This huge decrease in imports would seem to indicate that Romania is self-sufficient to a greater extent, which is quite unlikely. Instead, it indicates an impoverishment of the country, increased even more by the weak value of exports. In 1927 the 7,337,000 tons exports represented a value of 38.110.000.000 lei, in 1932 instead 9.057.187 tons. they are worth only 16,654,463,000 lei. This is due to the general decline in raw materials, which particularly affects Romania, an exporter of cereals, oil, etc., goods that are almost everywhere in overproduction. The value of a ton of exported goods decreased by 50% between 1929 and 1932. This critical situation is related to the world economic crisis. Romania suffers in a particular way, being a country in full reconstruction after the World War.
Exports, heavily affected by the fall in prices, concern all soil products. Mineral fuels, petroleum and derivatives, lead in weight and value. Cereals occupy the second place, then come the timber and its derivatives, finally the food products of animal origin, live animals, legumes, flowers.
Imports remain far below by weight, but represent a far greater value. From the point of view of weight, iron materials and iron objects take first place, while textiles are in the lead, if we consider the value of the goods.
Overall, these are raw and semi-finished materials, necessary for the country’s industry or manufactured objects that Romania does not manufacture in sufficient quantities.
The main customers and buyers of Romania are first of all the neighboring countries: Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, then some industrial countries of Western Europe: England, France, and in the Mediterranean Italy to an increasingly important extent; all countries, which buy cereals and sell manufactured products. Finally, several countries in the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean have also established relations with Romania.
The first place goes to Great Britain, followed by France and no longer by Germany, as in previous years. The first two import cereals, oil and wood. Germany had to limit its purchases abroad for economic reasons. It is also necessary to note the important part that belongs to the Mediterranean countries: Italy, or to the neighbors: Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Poland.
The first place goes to Germany, which pours the products of its industry into Romania. France holds second place, thanks to the value of its goods: luxury items, perfumes, cars.
Great Britain, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Poland follow, selling textiles, iron objects, machines, coal.