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Ukraine’s trade shift a boon for neighbouring ports

Constanta and Giurgiulesti are handling a higher volume of ships to keep goods flowing in and out of Ukraine

Ports in neighbouring countries are handling a greater number of vessels each month as they help to keep supplies moving into and out of Ukraine

RUSSIA’s war is having knock-on effects on other parts of the supply chain, with ports in Romania and Moldova seeing an influx in ships as Ukraine leverages alternative trade routes.

The naval blockade on Ukraine’s largest ports has severely limited its ability to import and export key commodities such as grain.

The country has been transporting goods via rail to its neighbours, such as Poland and Romania, for export, as well as relying on its smaller River Danube ports.

The Danube ports are working at full capacity to make up for the shortfall. In March Ukraine exported 400,000 tons via the three ports, and now it is exporting about 1.5m tons per month, according to Odessa-based Lloyd’s Agent Eurogal.

In June, the ports of Izmail, Reni and Kiliia combined recorded 279 outbound sailings of commercial vessels, up from 23 last year, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence data.

Nearby Moldova’s Giurgiulesti port has seen a similar surge in vessel activity.

The port recorded 51 outbound sailings in June, compared with 12 in the past year. It finished the second quarter with 137 departures, nearly five times more than the same period in 2021.

“Today, not only does Giurgiulesti port safeguard supply chains for Moldovan importers and exporters, but since the start of the war on Ukraine it has also played a key role in helping to uphold supplies to and from Ukraine,” said Alain Pilloux, vice-president of banking at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The port has been helping maintain the flow of grain and fuel into and out of Ukraine.



Vessel tracking data shows that all the vessels sailing from Giurgiulesti this year were general cargoships and tankers. Between April and June, 83 general cargoships and 54 tankers departed the port.

This year the port has exported 309,404 tons of grain. Grain transhipment and storage facilities are increasingly being used for grain originating in Ukraine.

Further south, Romania’s port Constanta is also playing a dual-purpose role.

It is a hub for receiving supplies for Ukraine, but also a gateway for its neighbour’s goods.

During the second quarter, Constanta saw more than 20% more outbound sailings of bulk carriers and general cargo ships than a year earlier.

Tanker activity experienced the greatest growth, with 251 departures recorded between April and June, up from 124 in 2021.

The closure of Ukraine’s main container port at Odessa has pushed large volumes of containers to Constanta, which has led to congestion at its box terminals.

In response, Maersk has begun sending cargoes destined for Constanta to Turkey.

A total of 2,216 commercial vessels departed Constanta during the first half of the year, up 22% from the past year’s figure.


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