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Ukraine using container caravans as alternative to blocked border

by Rachel Amran February 17, 2024 3:16 AM 2 min read
A Panamanian cargo anchored on the Danube River close to the port of Izmail, southwestern Ukraine on July 27, 2023. (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's national shipping company, "Ukraine Danube Shipping," (UDP) began to form container caravans as an alternative logistics route across the Danube, bypassing the blocked border in the west of the country, the Ministry of Communities and Territories Development announced on Feb. 16.

"Ukraine's exporters and carriers are once again facing blocked checkpoints on the western border, the Ministry's statement reads. "An alternative logistics route from Ukraine to the EU is river transportation on the Danube. The national carrier, Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company (UDP), is already preparing to launch barge container caravans on the Middle and Upper Danube."

UDP is preparing to launch barge container caravans on the Middle and Upper Danube. The company has reportedly started consultations with carriers to determine the required number of containers needed to form the caravans.

The shipping company reportedly exports to the Danube ports of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and the Romanian port of Constanta.

The Danube's importance as a shipping route rose sharply following Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal in July. The river's ports can export up to 2.3 million metric tons per month — the highest volume of agricultural goods.

As Ukraine managed to restore the flow of goods to and from its Odesa ports, shipping across the Danube has somewhat decreased.

Ukrainian farmers must grapple with severe export problems exacerbated by the Russian blockade of Ukraine’s seaports and relentless strikes on infrastructure in Odesa and the Danube.

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