According to the information of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, as of 20:00 on 12 July 2022, 16 commercial vessels that will transport Ukrainian agricultural products to foreign markets passed through the channel of the Bystre estuary of the Danube–Black Sea waterway and will await loading with Ukrainian grain. More than 90 ships are waiting on the road in the Sulina Canal for their turn to enter Ukrainian ports. A total of 135 vessels are on the road in the Romanian Sulina Canal.
The passage through the Bystre estuary to the Ukrainian Danube ports (“Izmail,” “Reni” and “Ust-Dunaisk”) became possible two days ago, thanks to the liberation of Zmiinyi Island from Russian troops.
“Over the past four days, 16 ships have already passed through the Bystre estuary. We plan to maintain this pace. The restoration of navigation through this canal is an important step, which will also allow unloading the Sulina Canal roads and speed up the grain exports. Unfortunately, at the moment, its throughput capacity and the organisation of work in this channel make it possible to accept only four ships whereas at least eight ships per day are needed,” the Ministry notes.
As noted, negotiations are underway with Romanian colleagues and representatives of the European Commission on the increase in the number of passages through the Sulina Canal.
“Under these conditions and the availability of a route through the Bystre estuary, we expect the congestion of ships in the road to dissolve within a week, and we will be able to increase the monthly grain exports by 500,000 tonnes,” said Yuriy Vaskov, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine.
At the request of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine joined the organisation of transportation by civilian ships.
To date, due to the blockade of seaports, which accounted for approximately 80% of the Ukrainian agricultural exports before the full-scale invasion, the export of food is taking place exclusively through the Danube ports, railway, and road checkpoints on the western border.
Their throughput capacity is currently insufficient to replace seaports fully. In particular, in June, it was possible to export approximately 2.5 million tonnes of products through the existing logistics routes, while the monthly need for exporting such products is 8 million tonnes.