At the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta dockers have worked for months to ship out Ukrainian grain in addition to their usual loads from Romania and its land-locked neighbours, according to Reuters.
The export route is one of the few left open to Ukraine, which before the conflict with Russia was one of the world’s top grain suppliers. Exporters have shipped 1.46 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain through Constanta since Russia invaded the country in February and the war halted shipments from Ukraine’s own Black Sea ports.
The first grain-carrying ship to leave the Ukrainian port of Odesa since the war began under a safe passage agreement sailed on Monday. Operators in Romania expect they will continue to ship Ukrainian grain as it will take time to fully implement that deal.
Turkey, which brokered the deal together with the United Nations, expects roughly one grain ship to leave Ukrainian ports each day as long as the agreement holds.
Romanian port operator Comvex said it will fill two ships later this week one carrying 30,500 tonnes of Ukrainian and Romanian corn headed to Libya and the second 45,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn to Iran.
“It all depends on how the Istanbul agreement works out and on the quantities that Ukrainian ports can ship out,” Comvex manager Viorel Panait told Reuters.
“With all our hearts we wish they can restore their chain flows. But we are here, ready to help.”
Comvex has invested 4 million euros ($4.09 million) in a second barge offloading platform which became operational at the end of July, and boosted its total processing capacity to 84,000 tonnes in and 70,000 tonnes out per day.
Last year, Constanta’s port shipped a record high 25.2 million tonnes of grain from Romania and landlocked neighbours Serbia, Hungary, Republic of Moldova and Austria.