The Port of Constanta in Romania reported a 50% year-on-year increase in grain exports last year due to a surge in shipments from Ukraine and ongoing European Union (EU)-funded infrastructure projects, Reuters reported the port authority as saying.

Located on the Black Sea, the port exported 36M tonnes of grain in 2023 with Ukraine accounting for 14M tonnes – almost 40% of the total, the port authority told Reuters.

Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest grain exporters, and Constanta had become Kyiv’s largest alternative export route since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, with grains arriving by road, rail and barge across the Danube, Reuters wrote.

However, its transit volumes had fallen since last July when Russia repeatedly targeted Ukraine’s river ports, the report said.

In August, Ukraine had created a shipping corridor from its own ports along the western Black Sea coast near Romania and Bulgaria, shortly after Russia withdrew from a 2022 UN-brokered Black Sea grain export deal, Reuters wrote.

At the time of the 10 January report, Ukraine said it had exported 10M tonnes of agricultural goods through the corridor.

The Romanian government planned to increase export capacity for Ukrainian grain to 4M tonnes/month and was upgrading rail and road infrastructure in and around the port, the report said.

On 10 January, the port said EU-funded investment projects in and around Constanta finalised last year and ongoing in 2024 totalled US$598.47M (€546.8M) with further projects worth an additional (US$237M) €218M pending.

Romanian Transport Minister Sorin Grindeanu was quoted as saying in December that an EU-funded project to enable round-the-clock navigation on the Danube river’s Sulina canal, which goes to Constanta, had been finalised and would become operational pending staff training.

The overall traffic of goods in Constanta totalled 92.5M tonnes in 2023, a 22.5% increase compared to the previous year, the port authority said.