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Infrastructure Ministry: Ukraine plans to bypass Poland border issues by adding new Danube export route

by Nate Ostiller February 21, 2024 7:31 PM 2 min read
The Romanian port of Constanta on Aug. 22, 2023. (Andreea Campeanu/Getty Images)
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Ukraine is planning an additional route via the Danube River to circumvent the ongoing protests and ensuing problems at the Polish border, Bloomberg reported on Feb. 20, citing comments from Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

The Danube's importance as a shipping route rose sharply following Russia's unilateral withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal in July 2023.

Ukrainian exports have increasingly been sent overland into Poland, but that route has become ensnared in demonstrations from Polish farmers and truckers, who have intermittently blocked the border for commercial cargo since November 2023.

Kubrakov told Bloomberg at the Munich Security Conference, which concluded on Feb. 18, that the new route would be "more predictable" than exports overland into Poland.

"Our plans for this year is to remove all artificial obstacles for exporters and we are working to improve domestic logistics," Kubrakov said.

The proposed route, which is in the exploratory phase, would run from the Ukrainian city of Izmail on the Danube River to Constanta in Romania, ultimately ending up in Germany's Danube port cities.

Kubrakov's comments were the latest in a series of moves to increase the export infrastructure on the Danube.

Ukraine's national shipping company, Ukraine Danube Shipping (UPD), said earlier in February that it had begun to form container caravans as an alternative logistics route across the Danube.

The European Commission approved a 126 million euro ($138 million) fund in January 2024 to help strengthen Romanian port infrastructure and reduce congestion caused by increased Ukrainian exports.

Polish, Ukrainian governments should meet at border, Zelensky says
The Polish government, including Prime Minister Donald Tusk, should come to the border with Ukraine to meet its Ukrainian counterparts and solve the ongoing blockade led by Polish farmers, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video message on Feb. 21.
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