Ukraine has already exported more grain via Romania’s Black Sea port of Constanta than it did in 2022 though volumes have fallen recently as Russian attacks on its Danube river ports prompt Ukrainian exporters to turn to road and rail routes.
Ukraine shipped 9.2 million metric tons of grain through Constanta in the first eight months, the port authority told Reuters, with the pace slowing as attacks intensified.
Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest grain exporters and Constanta is now Kyiv’s largest alternative export route, with grains arriving by road, rail or barge across the Danube.
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But since July, when Moscow abandoned a deal that lifted a de facto Russian blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, it has repeatedly struck Ukrainian river ports that lie across the Danube from European Union and NATO member Romania.
As a result, Ukraine is stepping up road and rail shipments, brokers said earlier this week.
Constanta Port data showed that 8.1 million tons of Ukrainian grain left port in the first seven months. In 2022, Ukraine shipped 8.6 million tons through Constanta.
Romania has said it aims to double the monthly transit capacity of Ukrainian grain to 4 million tons in the coming months, with investment in infrastructure ongoing.
Ukrainian grain competes for space in Constanta, which traditionally handles Romania’s crop exports and those of its landlocked neighbours, including Hungary and Serbia.
Overall, the port shipped 22.2 million tons of grains in the first eight months, the authority said, and is poised to exceed its annual record of about 25 million tons.
Romanian Transport Minister Sorin Grindeanu will meet Ukrainian, Moldovan, European Commission and U.S. representatives in Constanta on Friday to discuss ways to boost transit.
Romania is one of five eastern EU countries alongside Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia that saw a surge of Ukrainian grain imports since the Russian invasion, which distorted local markets and prompted protests from farmers, leading the EU to approve temporary trade restrictions.
The five states have asked Brussels to extend the ban, which expires on Friday, until the year-end.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by David Evans)