22 Feb 2024 18:30

Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company creates three river routes as alternatives to road transport

MOSCOW. Feb 22 (Interfax) - The Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company has developed three lines for barge caravans and has sent commercial proposals to the largest freight forwarders, Ukrainian media reported, citing an announcement from the Restoration Ministry.

"As the western border remains blocked, the Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company proposes rerouting cargo formerly transported to EU countries by truck to river transport," the ministry said on social media Thursday.

The fastest route for delivering goods across the western border to EU countries is Ukraine-Galati (Romania). Due to the long distance, the river caravan will be able to make five to seven trips per month to Galati. Delivery time for containers is several days, the announcement said.

Ukraine-Regensburg (southeastern Germany, Bavaria) is another route, which brings cargo "to the point closest to the main market for Ukrainian exports," the ministry said. Goods can be brought to any point on the middle and upper Danube along the way. However, it will be longer than the route to Galati, it said.

Ukraine-Constanta is the cargo route to the largest Romanian seaport from where it is possible to export to anywhere in the world.

The shipping company reportedly plans to supply additional barge caravans to container lines, which will ensure the monthly delivery of 2,100 TEU to Regensburg, or 5,900 TEU to Constanta.

The shipping company can work with TEU/FEU containers, as well as refrigerated containers.

The ministry said that river transport using the Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company could provide an alternative to 2,000-5,000 trucks.

As reported, a nationwide farmers' strike started in Poland on February 9. The strikers' main demands are an adjustment to the "green" course taken by the European Commission, which would limit the flow of Ukrainian agricultural products to the Polish market and increase the profitability of agricultural production. The protests will last 30 days, during which farmers intend to block all Ukrainian-Polish border crossings and transport hubs.

The official representative of Ukraine's State Border Service, Andrei Demchenko, previously stated that transport flows from Ukraine and in the opposite direction have been reoriented to other countries, as six of the nine border checkpoints on the border with Poland are currently blockaded.

Ukrainian Railways (Ukrzaliznytsia) called on Ukrainian farmers to reorient themselves from Polish routes to Hungarian ones due to attempts by Polish farmers to block railway tracks.

It was also reported that, in September 2023, the Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company called on the management of the port of Constanta to provide permission to create a port operator that would help with the offshore transshipment of Ukrainian grain. The two sides ended up setting up transshipment last year using the direct board-to-board method.

The shipping company reported that Ukraine had developed a project for organizing three more anchorages, one of which could be assigned to Ukraine. Subject to the consent of the Romanian side, it is ready to set up a Ukrainian port operator in Constanta.

The company also said that the Danube ports mainly handle the transshipment of small sea vessels such as coaster barges with a carrying capacity of 10,000-15,000 tonnes. Exports in batches of these sizes are intended for Turkey, Greece, and Egypt. However, traditional Ukrainian markets are located in Southeast Asia, where grain is delivered in large quantities and loaded onto Panamax vessels. However, large ships are only able to load in Constanta.

"Each anchorage can provide 15,000-20,000 tonnes of transshipment per day. This is a real alternative to the ports of Odessa," the shipping company stated.