Romania promises to double transit of grains from Ukraine on short term
Romania will double its capacity to transfer grains from Ukraine “in the coming period” from 2mn tonnes per month to 4mn tonnes per month, transport minister Sorin Grindeanu announced recently. Naval but also railway routes were envisaged. The Sulina channel (one of Danube’s three routes towards the Black Sea) is the only alternative for the naval transport, minister Grindeanau said, indirectly playing down Ukraine’s strive to use an artificially enlarged channel Bystroye.
He promised to “optimise” under a EUR 18mn EU-funded project the use of the Sulina channel, where Ukraine’s Danube ports are placed.
In the medium term, minister Grindeanu speaks of EUR 1bn investments in Constanta port’s railway connectivity and more investments in road and railway infrastructure projects critical for the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.
His statements follow a recent meeting of high level representatives of Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, United States, and European Union held in Galati (RO) on August 11, where they expressed their commitment to accelerate Ukrainian grain exports. The meeting addressed global food insecurity caused by Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI). It was attended by U.S. Department of State Sanctions Coordinator Ambassador Jim O’Brien, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, U.S. Ambassador to Romania Kathleen Kavalec, and Acting Deputy Chief of U.S. Mission to Moldova Mary Alexander, Romanian Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Sorin Grindeanu, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Bolea, and European Commission Mobility and Transport Director General Magda Kopczynska.
“The United States remains committed to partnering with the government and people of Ukraine – including through financial support and supplies, expansion of alternative export routes, and the modernization of Ukraine’s border crossings. The United States will also contribute to improving critical infrastructure for rail and road transportation and transshipment, expanding access to train car parts and railway assembly lines, and assisting the private sector along the Danube in enhancing export capacity. To further support regional efforts, the United States pledged financial assistance to Ukraine’s neighbors to acquire vessels such as pilot boats, and to facilitate cross-border transshipment and transit,” the US Embassy said.
Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the BSGI and attacks on ports and grain silos in Ukraine have severely disrupted grain markets. The BSGI exported more than 32 million tons of grain since starting last August, and food prices have risen approximately 10% since Russia terminated the BSGI.