Business suggests an action plan to accelerate ship traffic on the Danube
As a result of russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, many Ukrainian ports remain blocked. And the inability to export Ukrainian products, including agricultural products, can lead to a food crisis in the world. So, it is not only a local problem but a threat on a global scale.
Given the current circumstances, Ukrainian products are exported partially through the Danube ports and the Sulina Sea Canal. The EBA member companies report that nearly 90 vessels are currently queuing near the Sulina Canal. They will stay in the queue for an average of 10 days or more. It is worth noting that every day of stoppage costs Ukrainian exporters about $500 thousand per day.
In this regard, the EBA Logistics Committee experts appealed to the UN Secretary-General, the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, and the Chargé d’Affaires of Ukraine in Romania to implement certain measures in the Danube region to resolve the situation.
Thus, the companies propose to enable the inspection of at least six vessels at a time (as of now, Romania provides only two berths for this purpose), increase the opening hours of the Sulina Canal, allow traffic through the canal at night, so that its capacity can be doubled. It would also be appropriate to allow extraordinary registration of vessels if there is a free berth.
The maximum allowable speed can be increased depending on the technical condition of the channel and its status (currently, it is 5.65 knots = 6.5 miles/hour). This can be also applied to one-way traffic.
Also, business considers the possibility of roadstead transshipment in the ports of Sulina and Konstanta as well as along the 61st mile of the Danube River provided there is full loading which means an absence of available ports’ capacity.
We consider such measures implementable and effective to accelerate traffic flows on the Danube and help unblock agricultural exports from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, there is a key limitation for increased Ukrainian cargo flows through Danube ports that we have to work on. The private companies in Europe are ready and willing to do the necessary investments for Ukrainian cargo, but they are afraid of war risks that could break the new logistics chains, so such companies need the investment guarantee from state authorities as it was done for export guarantees. The main issue to be solved is insurance coverage. Our Ukrainian authorities have developed such guarantees for the safety of navigation in the waters of Ukrainian ports in the Danube region and transportation by rail. I do believe this will be implemented in the nearest time.