Constanta, Romania – The Romanian Black Sea port within the metropolis of Constanta has turn into one of many primary transit hubs for Ukrainian grain export, with the war-torn nation in a race in opposition to time to export about 20 million tonnes of grain caught in its silos in time to accommodate the harvest of its new crops, which is about to start out subsequent month.
“Earlier than the struggle, there was completely no Ukrainian cereal transiting the Constanta port. Now, it quantities to roughly 30 p.c of our exercise,” mentioned Dan Dolghin, director of the cereal operation at Comvex, one of many primary grain operators within the Constanta port.
With a grain storage capability of 1.5 million tonnes and that includes the quickest cereal dealing with terminal within the European Union, the port of Constanta turned a viable various within the context of the maritime blockade of the Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which was the principle export routes for cereal earlier than the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
For the reason that blockade, 616,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain have reached the Constanta port, with a further 166,500 tonnes set to reach within the following weeks, in accordance with the port’s administration.
The comparatively sluggish tempo of the Ukrainian grains transiting the Romanian port is about by difficulties in transporting excessive volumes of cereal from Ukraine to Constanta by land, or by barge by way of the Danube River from the small Ukrainian ports of Ismail and Reni.
“We initiated the event of a brand new funding aiming to extend the pace of unloading the barges, the transportation technique through which vital portions of cereal from Ukraine attain us. This funding, which will likely be operational by the top of June, will improve the unloading capability of barges to about 28,000 tonnes per day,” mentioned Viorel Panait, director of Comvex.
Romania’s land border crossings with Ukraine and Moldova have been jammed within the current weeks by queues of vans longer than 10km (6 miles), ready for days for customs checks.
There are coordinated efforts being made by the Romanian and Moldovan governments to complement the variety of customs officers and open extra border transit lanes to be able to lower the ready time on the border.
By prepare, the principle issue is the distinction within the gauge of the Ukrainian and the EU railways, prepare wagons needing changes earlier than they will cross into Romania, leading to a sluggish transit pace, with trains ready for weeks to cross.
The Romanian transport ministry began the rehabilitation of 4.5km (2.8 miles) of broad gauge railway, which hyperlinks Ukraine and Moldova to the Romanian port of Galati, the principle regional port on the Danube River.
The railway, which has been out of operation for the final 20 years, proves to be important in reducing the transit time for cereal and different bulk items from Ukraine, as its gauge matches the one of many railways in Ukraine and Moldova.
The proximity of Constanta port each by land to Ukraine and by maritime routes to the Suez Canal “make Romania the very best candidate to deal with these provide routes, which this manner turn into shorter”, mentioned Panait.
“Contemplating the big grain volumes which might be in want of export from Ukraine, I consider this needs to be a conjugated effort of all of the European operators which have the capability to take part,” he mentioned. “There isn’t any place for ego right here.”