The operators of a key Black Sea canal have put a temporary halt on vessels moving towards the Ukrainian and Romanian ports of Reni, Izmail and Giurgiulesti in a bid to reduce a huge backlog, AgriCensus reported.

A key link in the supply chain moving Ukrainian agricultural produce via the River Danube towards Black Sea export facilities, the Sulina Canal has reported a major increase in activity, according to the 11 May report.

As a result, the canal's administrators had introduced a temporary limit on the number of vessels entering the canal to prevent further queues building up amid a lack of pilots available to guide ships along the canal's length, AgriCensus wrote.

“In order to avoid blockage, ships going to Reni/Giurgiulesti will not enter Sulina Canal until these areas are clear; the same will be applied for Izmail port,” a note seen by AgriCensus said.

At one stage, four ships were waiting to enter the canal, according to the note, and no further vessels would be admitted until the number had dropped below three.

At the time of the report, up to 70 vessels were waiting for the entrance to be re-opened, according to the ship tracking service Marine Traffic.

Sulina Canal links the shallow water Ukrainian and Romanian ports with the Black Sea, and has faced difficulties dealing with the sharp increase in product flows from Ukrainian ports amid the blockade of Ukraine's deep sea ports following Russia’s invasion of the country on 24 February, AgriCensus wrote.