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EU Plan to Use Rail, Roads, and Rivers to Help Ukraine Move Grain Around Russian Port Blockade

The European Commission is proposing a plan by which it will help Ukraine export wheat and other grains by rail, road, and river in order to bypass a Russian blockade in place at the country’s ports.

The EU commissioner for transport stated that in three month’s time, 20 million tons of grain need to be moved out of Ukraine using EU infrastructure - a huge logistical challenge.

The EU’s executive arm stated that the aim is to establish alternative routes, and to lessen the congestion at border crossings to facilitate the movement of goods and humanitarian aid into Ukraine, where the blockade of its ports has been particularly harmful, as they accounted for 90 percent of its grain shipments before the war.

Trains have begun carrying loads of Ukrainian grain to Austria and Germany via other EU countries, and the EU is looking to increase shipments by rail and truck, but the volumes moved so far amount to only a fraction of the Black Sea port capacity. The current average wait time for thousands of rail cars at Ukraine’s border with the EU is 16 days, extending up to 30 days at some places. To ease this congestion, the EU Commission is calling for all available barges, vessels, grain-hopper trailers, and cargo containers to assist, while urging member nations to accelerate procedures at border crossing points and to increase capacity on EU soil.

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