Braila is a Danube River cruise port and city in southeastern Romania. By population (around 180,000) it is ranked Romania's 11th largest. As port town, Braila was established in early-15th-century when Wallachia Harbor was developed. The riverport served fish trade and foreign merchants importing goods (via Black Sea) from Asia Minor and Crimea (Russia). In 1462, the town was completely destroyed (burnt to the ground) by an invading Ottoman Turkish fleet of around 180 ships. In the period 1540-1829 the town (under the name Ibraila) was ruled by the Ottomans. The nearest Danube cruise port is Galati - approx 15 km (9 ml) to the north.
VARD Braila shipyard
In the late 19th century, the port was one of Romani's 3 largest Danube ports (together with Giurgiu and Turnu Magurele) through which passed most of Romania's import and export goods. As port, Braila is accessible to medium-sized cargo ships and ocean-going cruise ships, The port has large cargo terminal (with grain-handling facilities and warehouses).
City's economy is mainly based on shipbuilding and metalworking, also textile and food-processing industries. Most important is the shipbuilding industry represented by the Norwegian company VARD (since 2013 - a subsidiary of the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri). VARD currently has 2 shipyards in Romania - Braila and Tulcea. At VARD's Romanian yards are constructed the hulls of most newbuild ships (cruise, ferries, also offshore and specialized vessels).
The Braila shipyard specializes in hull production, building merchant ships, also in shiprepair and ship conversion projects. Its quay has length 1300 m (4260 ft) and capacity to handle simultaneously up to 12 vessels. It is equipped with 50-ton gantry cranes, mounting platform, launching berth (vessel capacity up to LOA length 135 m and beam 23 m) and has max launching weight 2500 tons and max lifting weight 2200 tons. The Tulcea shipyard specializes in shipbuilding, marine architecture and design, vessel conversions and shiprepairs.
- VARD is one of the world's largest marine vessel designer companies and a renown shipbuilder of specialized and customized vessels. The company is headquartered in Ålesund Norway and has around 9000 employees, VARD operates a total of 9 shipbuilding yards located in Norway (5), Romania (2), Brazil (1) and Vietnam (1). Through VARD's specialized subsidiary companies are developed power plants, navigation and automation systems, deck equipment, stateroom solutions, design and engineering.
- VARD's majority shareholder (79,34%) is Fincantieri Oil & Gas, which is wholly owned by FINCANTIERI SpA. The shipbuilder FINCANTIERI is headquartered in Trieste Italy, and is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding companies.