The Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company (UDP) has announced that the first caravan of UDP barges has left Izmail for the Middle Danube, the CFTS portal reports.

"The Captain Zhidkov motor ship departed from Izmail this morning. Its port of destination is Smederevo. The caravan comprises five barges with cargoes of sinter ore and ore pellets. The estimated time of arrival at the port of destination is 10-12 days, depending on the navigation conditions on River Danube," the company said in a statement.

According to the statement, the line was launched within the framework of the existing large contract (in which the price and some other clauses have been amended) for delivery of Ukrainian iron ore to metallurgical production facilities in Serbia.

"Our partner is a large company, cooperation with which ensures a steady flow of cargoes for the operation of the UDP’s fleet. Thanks to the project, our company is implementing better fleet management, practicing long-term voyage planning, and creating infrastructure for fleet maintenance on the Middle Danube, in addition to securing attractive commercial terms," the UDP said.

The shipping company also gets additional opportunities for cargo transportation in the reverse direction.

According to the statement, technical modernization of the company’s vessels accompanies the return to the Middle Danube. "Fuel consumption control, video surveillance, and online dispatching systems are being installed. The crews have passed a knowledge test and confirmed their qualifications," the company said.