| 5 December 2023, Tuesday |

Romanian port operators racing to boost grain operating capacity

Romanian port operators in the Black Sea port of Constanta are investing to boost their grain handling capacity as Ukraine ramps up exports through its neighbour, the manager of operator Comvex (CMVX.BX) said.

Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest grain exporters and since Russia’s invasion last year, Constanta has become Kyiv’s largest alternative export route, with grains arriving by road, rail or barge across the Danube.

The Romanian government has said it aims to double the monthly transit capacity for Ukrainian grain through its Constanta port to four million metric tons in the coming months from virtually zero before the Russian war started.

In August, roughly 2.7 million tons of Ukrainian grain passed through Constanta, Comvex manager Viorel Panait said in an interview with Reuters.

Since July, when Moscow abandoned a deal that lifted a de facto Russian blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, Russia has repeatedly struck Ukrainian river ports that lie across the Danube from European Union and NATO member Romania.

“You cannot count on a single means of transportation because this leaves you vulnerable, as we have seen after the attacks on Ukraine’s Danube ports,” Panait said.

“You need truck, train and barge transport to converge.”

Comvex, which doubled its barge unloading capacity last year and is currently in the process of raising its grain storage capacity by 25% to 250,000 tonnes, is now working on increasing its train processing speeds, Panait said.

It has partnered with rail operator Grup Feroviar Roman (GFR) on a new train reloading system at the Ukrainian-Romanian border crossing of Vadul Siret-Dornesti.

Panait said the system, which will become operational by mid-October, will enable Comvex to handle an additional 120,000 tons of grains per month. The operator is also adding a second automated quality control system, doubling its train processing capacity.

  • Reuters