Multiple options are opening up to ship goods out of war-torn Ukraine, a nation that closed all its ports on February 24, the day Russia invaded.
Romania has reopened a Soviet-era rail link connecting its Danube River port of Galati to Ukraine a month earlier than originally planned.
Grain cargoes coming from Ukraine via Moldova can reach Galati directly to be transferred onto barges and then further, including to the Black Sea port of Constanta.
Constanta has been an important hub for Ukrainian cargoes in the opening months of the war, however, it is now operating at full capacity, both for dry bulk and containers. Earlier this week, Danish carrier Maersk detailed new contingency plans to shift some boxes away from congested Constanta to the Turkish terminal, Safiport.
Meanwhile, a port in landlocked Moldova located at the confluence of Danube and Prut rivers, is showing dramatically increased cargo volumes in the wake of war.
Giurgiulesti Port, Moldova’s only commercial access to international waters, has reported cargo volumes have more than doubled to more than 800,000 tons in the first half of the year, mainly due to increasing imports of petroleum oil products, coal and fertiliser and exports of grains and vegetable oil. Construction of a new $5m terminal is now underway, due to open in the second half of next year.
Bulgaria’s Black Sea port of Varna is also positioning itself to take some of the load from Ukraine. With Constanta filling up, shippers are making more enquiries about using Varna in recent weeks.
Like in Romania, the government of Bulgaria has simplified cross-border rules for trucks carrying Ukrainian import and export cargoes.
Further north, ports in Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea are also taking some Ukrainian agri-products to international markets, developing a transit corridor from Ukraine which bypasses Belarus.