5 Jul 2023 12:25

Ukrainian Railways reroutes grain transportation to Danube ports

MOSCOW. July 5 (Interfax) - Inefficiency of the grain corridor has cut cargo transportation to the greater Odessa ports by rail, while traffic has grown to the Danube ports of Ismail and Reni, where carriers are expecting Moldovan Railways to announce new tariffs, deputy head of the Ukrainian Railways department of commerce Valery Tkachev said.

"No one can tell whether the Black Sea Grain Initiative works, but I personally believe there is a 90% chance that the corridor will either be closed or remains as inefficient as it is now. Four to six ships are inspected per the week, and there was none yesterday," Ukrainian media quoted Tkachev as saying at a meeting with carriers on Tuesday.

Transportation to the greater Odessa ports has shrunk as a result, while traffic to the Danube ports of Ismail and Reni has been growing, Tkachev said, adding that all carriers were expecting Moldova to announce new tariffs.

For now, rail transit tariffs in Moldova are 57% higher than those of Ukrainian Railways, Tkachev said. The tariffs grew another 8-11% on July 1 (8% of the basic raise and 3% resulting from a changed exchange rate of the Swiss franc used by Ukraine and Moldova in their settlements).

Moldova has offered updated tariffs on transportation of agricultural products for Ukraine's consideration, Tkachev said. However, Ukrainian Railways still has some outstanding issues: how discounted rates will apply (commodity summarization for all forwarding agents or just one carrier) and when the calculations will be made (monthly or quarterly).

"We have put certain methodological questions in writing and will send our enquiry to the Moldovan colleagues," Tkachev said, adding that Ukraine was considering discounts on transit of Moldovan cargo.