Organization and administration of Port Authorities
Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN
The institution of Harbour Master’s Office existed from early 19th century, and its attributions were related to guarding the area from a military and sanitary point of view. It was mentioned in the Organic Statutes, and it was better organised in the 1860s.
In modern Romania the organisation and administration of ports witnessed several important changes, also in relation to their funding. The incomes came from quay taxes, renting magazines, platforms etc., but most of them from the ½ percent tax on the value of the goods traded through the port. Since 1887 the Ministry of Public Works started to collect this money (as local municipalities were accused of not directing it to the development of the harbour infrastructure), still keeping it in separate accounts. In 1904 the central authorities unified these accounts, but this special fund of Romanian ports remained independent of the general state budget until 1911.
After the construction of the dockyards at Brăila and Galaţi in the early 1890s, due to customs regulations there existed two distinct areas, separated administratively, where shipping and trading operations took place at Galaţi: the dockyards and the harbour proper.
The dockyards represented a veritable port in itself, the enclosures from Brăila and Galaţi being administered by the Service of the Dockyards, with the headquarters at Galaţi. It was led by an administrator, helped by a deputy administrator, later named director and deputy director. All activities in the dockyards (mooring of ships, depositing of goods on platforms and magazines etc.) were done according to a common regulation, whereas the harbour master was only responsible with the police of navigation and the collection of pilotage taxes. The Hydraulic Service conducted all technical works, whereas the customs authorities were responsible with the application of the customs law for the transit and storing of goods. Ships admitted for different operations paid pilotage and quay taxes, other amounts being paid for towage, wintering, platforms, magazines etc. Foreign goods entering the dockyards lost their nationality and their introduction to Romania required a special permit issued by the customs authorities, so that the dockyards were extremely feasible for goods transited along the Danube.
The harbour proper was administered by two different services: the Harbour’s Master Office and the Hydraulic Service. The master was responsible with imposing the regulation of navigation, guarding the good order, respecting the sanitary instructions, observing the loading and unloading of ships, dealing with ships in distress etc. The master was assisted in certain tasks (such as preserving the good order and levying different taxes) by the border police. The same institution coordinated the activity of the commission for registering ships. The Harbour Master’s Office was subordinated to the General Inspectorate of Navigation and Ports, created in 1879 and based at Galaţi. Until 1908, when it became a part of the General Direction of Ports, its activity was subordinated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The technical exploitation of the harbour proper was done by the Hydraulic Service. Its main attributions were to preserve the navigability of the Danube, to do the necessary works in the harbour, to secure the exploitation of existing installations (quays, platforms, magazines etc.).
Other institutions were also involved in the exploitation of the harbour proper. The customs office controlled the import and export of goods and levied due taxes. In 1910 there was established a Sanitary Service responsible with the surveillance of health in the port.
 Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale, Căpitănia Portului Galaţi, description of the archival fund, 3–5.
 Paul Demetriad, Autonomia şi zonele libere ale porturilor din străinătate faţă de regimul porturilor noastre (Brăila: Institutul de Arte Grafice Dunărea, 1927), vol. I, 23–27; Emil Octavian Mocanu, Portul Brăila de la regimul de porto franco la Primul Război Mondial (1836–1914) (Brăila: Editura Istros, 2012), 308–310.
 Mocanu, Portul, 316–320. For the regulations of the dockyards, see Regulament şi tarife pentru exploatarea docurilor şi întrepozitelor din porturile Galaţi şi Brăila (Bucharest: s.e., 1892).
 Mocanu, Portul, 326–328.
 Ibid., 328–330.
 Demetriad, Autonomia, 35; Mocanu, Portul, 330–331.
The official site of the Dockyards of Galaţi
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Inspectoratul General al Navigaţiei şi Porturilor Galaţi (The General Inspectorate of Navigation of Ports Galaţi), files starting with 1879.
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Căpitănia Portului Galaţi (Galaţi Habour Master’s Office), files starting with 1884.
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Comisia Europeană a Dunării (European Commission of the Danube), files starting with 1856.
Codul maritim şi fluvial [The Maritime and Fluvial Code], edited by Constantin C. Tonegaru, A. Theodoru, C. Ioaniţiu (Bucharest: Tipografia Lupta, 1934).
Demetriad, Paul, Autonomia şi zonele libere ale porturilor din străinătate faţă de regimul porturilor noastre [The Autonomy and the Free Zones of Foreign Ports Compared to the Regime of Our Ports], vol. I (Brăila: Institutul de Arte Grafice Dunărea, 1927).
Mocanu, Emil Octavian, Portul Brăila de la regimul de porto franco la Primul Război Mondial (1836–1914) [The Port of Brăila from the Free Port Regime to World War One (1836–1914)] (Brăila: Editura Istros, 2012).
Regulament şi tarife pentru exploatarea docurilor şi întrepozitelor din porturile Galaţi şi Brăila [Regulation and Tariffs for the Exploitation of the Dockyards and the Entrepots in the Port of Galaţi and Brăila] (Bucharest: s.e., 1892).
Regulament şi tarife pentru exploatarea docurilor şi întrepozitelor din porturile Galaţi şi Brăila [Regulation and Tariffs for the Exploitation of the Dockyards and the Entrepots in the Port of Galaţi and Brăila (Bucureşti: s.e., 1897).