In a promising development, Romania is steadily progressing toward its goal of enhancing the monthly transit capacity for Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea port of Constanta to an impressive four million metric tons, according to statements made by the country's Transport Minister. The announcement comes in the wake of a meeting that brought together officials from Ukraine, Moldova, the European Commission, and the United States to assess Ukraine's most significant alternative grain export route.
Transport Minister Sorin Grindeanu revealed that Romania had already achieved a record transit of 3 million tons in October alone, highlighting the considerable potential for further growth. "This shows there is room to reach 4 million tons," Minister Grindeanu confidently asserted. He also mentioned the successful completion of a European Union-funded project aimed at enabling round-the-clock navigation on the Danube river's Sulina canal, leading to Constanta. The project's imminent operationalization, pending staff training, is expected to further bolster the grain transit initiative.
Moldova, which shares borders with both Romania and Ukraine, is also actively contributing to the project's success. The country is currently in the process of upgrading checkpoints and railroad infrastructure to facilitate smoother transit operations.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov provided additional insights, noting that the export of goods through Romania had averaged over 3 million tons since the beginning of 2023, with half of this volume consisting of grain. Kubrakov also praised the significant improvements made to road checkpoints, while pointing out that existing railroad infrastructure has not yet reached its full capacity.
Ukraine, recognized as one of the world's leading grain exporters, has increasingly relied on the Constanta port as its primary alternative export route since Russia's invasion in February 2022. Grains are transported to the port via road, rail, or barge across the Danube, highlighting the strategic importance of this transit corridor.
Data from the port authority revealed that, during the period of January to October, Ukraine shipped an impressive 11.7 million tons of grain through Constanta. This marked a significant increase from 10.5 million tons at the end of September and a substantial jump from the total of 8.6 million tons shipped in 2022.
Magda Kopczynska, the Commission’s director general for mobility and transport, emphasized the crucial role played by the Danube corridor. She described it as the most effective of the solidarity lanes established by the European Commission following Russia's attack on Ukraine. Kopczynska highlighted the enduring importance of the corridor, not only during times of conflict but also in facilitating the transportation integration of both Ukraine and Moldova with the European Union.