After regaining control over Zmiinyi (Snake) Island, Ukraine has opened traffic through the Bystre estuary channel for shipping from the Danube to the Black Sea and vice versa, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a Facebook post on July 15.
He stressed that this is the route to the Danube ports of Izmail, Reni and Ust-Dunaisk.
"From now on, ships entering our ports to load agricultural products will be able to use two routes – the Romanian Sulina channel and the Bystre estuary of the Danube River to reach the Black Sea," he said.
"This will significantly reduce the load on Sulina, whose lack of alternatives and limited capacity leads to long-term idleness of vessels on the raid."
The minister emphasized that Ukraine had managed to increase grain transshipment in the Danube ports to almost one million tons per month since March.
"With the opening of traffic through the Bystre estuary channel, we expect to increase transshipment in the ports even more significantly."
Kubrakov also said that grain transportation by rail had doubled since the beginning of Russian invasion, to over 800,000 tons per month, while cargo flow at road checkpoints had increased 2.6 times.
The official added that Ukraine exported about 2.5 million tons of agricultural products in June, which is more than three times less than the monthly requirement.
"We still need to export about 20 million tons of grain from the past harvest," he said.
Kubrakov noted that the situation is aggravated by the new crop, which requires free space in granaries.
"During the talks in Istanbul, we felt some progress, which we expect to develop into a full-fledged agreement with security guarantees from the international community," he said.
"It is already clear to the whole world that global food security depends on these negotiations, and it is also a matter of life and death for millions of people in African and Asian countries. According to UN estimates, there are more than 400 million such people."
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on July 13 that the export of Ukrainian grain could be agreed at a meeting in Istanbul next week with the participation of Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations.