Ukraine needs to develop the Bystre estuary - the Ukrainian canal that leads to the million Black Sea - to increase the export of Ukrainian agricultural products. Its development will increase exports through the River Danube by 1 million tons to the existing capacity of 2.2-2.3 million tons per month.
Deputy Minister of Community, Territories, and Infrastructure Development Yurii Vaskov stated this at a meeting of the Ukrainian Grain Association's grain club, the CFTS portal reports, citing the Interfax Ukraine news agency.
"Such an infrastructural decision will have no negative consequences. It is only positive for all countries through which the River Danube flows," the deputy minister said.
Vaskov also emphasized the need for round-the-clock operation of the Sulina Canal (Romania), which currently operates only 17 hours a day, which affects the pace of operation and significantly slows it down.
"So many ships have accumulated at the Romanian Danube’s Sulina estuary and the Ukrainian estuary of Bystre that this route needs to be developed. This is primarily revenue for the Romanian budget," he said.
According to the deputy minister, organizing transshipment in roadsteads in Romanian territorial waters is key to increasing the River Danube's export capacity.
The implementation of these three components will facilitate the export of 1 million tons of agricultural cargo via the River Danube in addition to the 2.2-2.3 million tons that are currently transported monthly, he said.
"The Ukrainian side’s task is to reach an agreement with Romania on the possibility of transportation of Ukrainian agricultural products by the Ukrainian Danube fleet to a roadstead designated by the Romanian side. Technically, this issue can be resolved within a week if there is political will," Vaskov said.
According to him, Ukraine needs to obtain the consent of Romania before taking any action because this is mandatory under the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (the Espoo Convention), to which Ukraine has acceded. The European Commission supports Ukraine in this. The Ukrainian government is waiting for the new Romanian government to begin work, after which it plans to hold a meeting to discuss a range of issues related to the transportation of agricultural goods on the River Danube.