Romania port struggles to move Ukraine grain | Latest Headlines
With Ukraine’s seaports blockaded or captured by Russian forces, neighboring Romania’s Black Sea port of Constanta has emerged as a main conduit for the war-torn country’s grain exports amid a growing world food crises. It’s Romania’s biggest port, home to Europe’s fastest-loading grain terminal, and has processed nearly a million tons of grain from Ukraine — one of the world’s biggest exporters of wheat and corn — since the February 24 invasion. But port operators say that maintaining, let alone increasing, the volume they handle could soon be impossible without concerted European Union support and investment. Comvex can process up to 72,000 tonnes of cereals per day. That and Constanta’s proximity by land to Ukraine, and by sea to the Suez Canal, make it the best current route for Ukrainian agricultural exports. Other alternatives include road and rail shipments across Ukraine’s western border into Poland and its Baltic Sea ports. Just days into the Russian invasion, Comvex invested in a new unloading facility, anticipating that the neighboring country would have to reroute its agricultural exports. This enabled the port over the past four months to ship close to a million tons of Ukrainian grain, most of it arriving by barge down the Danube River. But with 20 times that amount still blocked in Ukraine and the summer harvest season fast approaching in Romania itself and other countries that use Constanta for their exports, Dolghin said it’s likely the pace of Ukrainian grain shipping through his port will slow. Ukraine’s deputy agricultural minister, Markian Dmytrasevych, is also worried. In an address to the European Parliament earlier this month, Dmytrasevych said that when Constanta operators turn to European grain suppliers in the summer “it will further complicate the export of Ukrainian products.” Romanian and other EU officials have also voiced concern, lining up in recent weeks to pledge support. The solutions discussed in Kyiv, included loading at Romanian ports, new border crossings for trucks with Ukrainian grain and reopening a decommissioned railway linking Romania with Ukraine and Moldova.