Constanta Port: Ukraine’s Key Grain Shipping Route Amidst Russia’s Withdrawal
Since Russia withdrew from a safe passage grain corridor through Ukraine’s ports, Romania’s Constanta port has emerged as a crucial alternate route for Ukraine’s grain exports. Pressure on Constanta intensified after the Black Sea export agreement fell through.
Still, the port’s capacity and operator attempts to improve capabilities have allowed it to accommodate additional cargoes, mainly from Ukraine. The importance of the Constanta port in enabling Ukraine’s grain exports, the port’s present capacity, and the improvements made to improve its operational efficiency are all covered in this article.
Constanta Port: Ukraine’s Main Alternative Grain Shipping Route
The main alternate shipping route for Ukraine’s grain exports has evolved into Constanta Port due to Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea shipment agreement. Since the commencement of the conflict, the port has handled about one-third of Ukraine’s grain exports. Constanta had already become the most well-known alternate shipping route for Ukrainian grains before Russia left the grain corridor.
According to the Constanta Port Authority, the port processed 15.25 million metric tonnes of grains in the first half of this year, a significant 24.5% rise from the same time the year before. Ukrainian grains made about 7.5 million tonnes of this total. To put this into perspective, 8.6 million tonnes of grain from Ukraine were handled by Romanian port operators in 2022. Due to the increased processing capacity, Constanta Port is now a crucial entry point for grain exports from Ukraine.
Factors Enabling Increased Grain Handling
Viorel Panait, president of the Constanta Port Business Association and manager of port operator Comvex, emphasised several elements that have contributed to the port’s ability to handle Ukrainian grain logistics.
First off, there is a brief hiatus between the two crops because Romanian domestic grain harvesting begins later than Ukrainian harvesting does. Furthermore, some farmers in Romania have been hesitant to sell their produce for low prices, which has caused a decline in sales. Due to these two factors, the port has the capacity that is available until mid-August, allowing Ukraine to export grain at that time.
Viorel Panait, president of the Constanta Port Business Association and manager of port operator Comvex, emphasised several elements that have contributed to the port’s ability to handle Ukrainian grain logistics. First off, there is a brief hiatus between the two crops because Romanian domestic grain harvesting begins later than Ukrainian harvesting does.
Furthermore, some farmers in Romania have been hesitant to sell their produce for low prices, which has caused a decline in sales. Due to these two factors, the port has the capacity that is available until mid-August, allowing Ukraine to export grain at that time.
Investments to Boost Capacity
Increased grain processing capacity is crucial, especially given the current war between Russia and Ukraine, according to port operators at Constanta. In response, they have increased their operating capabilities by making large expenditures in management and equipment. The work has paid off, as it is anticipated that in 2023, Constanta will handle more grain than its highest annual throughput of 25 million tonnes.
For instance, Comvex increased the capacity of its barge unloading twofold and intends to increase its grain storage capacity by 25% to 250,000 tonnes through an upgrade that will take around eight months. By 2024, the freight logistics company TTS, which recently finalised the acquisition of Decirom S.A., which operates the Constanta port for solid bulk cargo, will have invested 10 million euros. Additionally, some operators use computerised technology, considerably reducing the time needed to process customs statements.
Ukraine’s Danube Ports and Border Crossing
Ukraine has taken steps to improve its capacity at Danube ports like Reni and Izmail in response to the rise in demand for grain exports. Further expediting the transit procedure, discussions with railway operators are in progress to set up a new reloading mechanism at the Vadul Siret-Dornesti border crossing between Romania and Ukraine.
Since Russia withdrew from the Black Sea transport agreement, Romania’s Constanta port has emerged as Ukraine’s primary alternate route for grain shipments. The port has become an essential entry point for Ukrainian grain exports due to its ability to accommodate additional cargo and ongoing initiatives to boost capacity and operational effectiveness.
As the crisis between Russia and Ukraine rages on, Constanta Port is essential to guaranteeing the seamless transportation of agricultural products and supporting the grain industry in Ukraine and the grain market in the European Union.