Some weeks ago I took a trip to Sunny Beach, Bulgaria. We drove (yes!) through several countries, including Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Was a great ride but there was a moment that made me think about… corruption. And looking into the eyes of the people living in that environment, it made me ask myself – how much inefficiency lies in it?
Imagine there would be one door to your apartment or house. And you would have to pay to enter. Let’s say 30 euros. And furthermore, there would be no certain time when you could enter but you just have to wait until you’re let in. Weird, huh?
Well, this is what made me think when I was waiting for the ferry to go from Bulgaria to Romania. For 2 hours. And after paying 32 euros for the 15 minute ride. Plus a city tax of 6 euros on the Romanian side.
Two hours turn into millions
So, I did some math to see how much does it really cost to have that waiting time for the ferry there. On the boat it said it could take up to 120 people on board together with 12 trucks. Let’s say all of those people waited for 1,5 hours (as they didn’t all come at the same time).
That means they all waited a total of 180 hours. Let’s say their average hourly salary is 10 euros. This means the time they spent there, cost 1800 euros. There are about 6 (nobody knows how many exactly) ferries a day. And this wait is on both sides of the Danube. This means the total of 1800 x 2 x 6 = 21,600 euros a day. On a yearly basis, this means 365 x 21,600 = 7,884,000 euros.
Now if we also add the city road tax of Calafat to it – it’d mean another 0,7 million euros of inefficiency. Making a total of 8,5 million euros.
A lot of money, isn’t it?
Country branding via corruption
But there’s another side to that. Naturally, most of the people taking the boat were foreigners. And after a two-hour wait, they were not so happy about this situation. Made them talk about corruption.
Now, let’s say you’re a business person thinking about doing business in Bulgaria or Romania. And to invest millions of euros, creating jobs for thousands. Would that make you want to go on with your plans? I presume you’d at least hesitate. But what does that cost the two countries? How much country branding cost does it make useless?
This is how the devil is in the details.
By the way, the two countries decided to build a bridge there, passing the city of Calafat. In 2006. The total cost of the bridge is said to be 236 million euros. After a little calculation – based on just the waiting time and the current numbers, it’d take about 28 years to make up for the cost. Not calculating the image costs.Jarmo Siim