Reni, Ukraine (PortSEurope) June 30, 2023 – War-torn Ukraine will help its poor neighbour Moldova to rebuild a 400 km-long section of the railway line from the north to the south of Moldova, where it connects to Ukraine’s Danube River port of Reni.
The total length of the railway corridor bisecting Moldova is some 600 km. It connects the country’s two border crossings with Ukraine. The corridor offers an alternative cargo route for Ukraine. Moldova is a landlocked country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania.
The renovation of the railway section Velchinet (Valcinet, Valcinec) – Ocnita (Oknica) – Balti (Belci) – Ungheni – Chisinau – Cainari will be completed by the end of 2024, according to a memorandum signed between Ukrzaliznytsia (Ukrainian Railways) and Calea Ferata din Moldova (CFM, Railway of Moldova).
In late June it became clear that the state-owned Moldovan Railways was ready to kickstart a 71 million euro line reconstruction project of the Balti-Valcinet-Ungheni and Chisinau-Cainari railway sections. Both are important for cargo flows from Ukraine.
The project will receive 23 million euro from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and 20 million euro from the EU’s Foreign Policy Needs instrument. The remaining 28 million euro will be provided by Moldovan Railways, who will also implement the project.
“Restoration of this section is an important step to strengthen railway logistics in the Danube direction,” Oleksandr Kubrakov, Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration of Ukraine, said. “Exporters will receive a convenient transport corridor, connected in particular with the port of Reni. This is one of the important elements in the development of export logistics in Bessarabia”.
“Ukraine has the necessary equipment and highly qualified workers capable of quickly and efficiently implementing infrastructure projects of any complexity,” Oleg Tofilat, Director General of Moldova Railways, said. “After the restoration of the section, its capacity will increase, the speed of trains will increase and the quality of freight traffic will improve”.
Ukraine opened the shortest railway route to Reni via Moldova in April
In April, UkrZaliznytsia opened a new 30 km railway stretch which became the shortest route to the country’s Danube River port of Reni via Moldova. The stretch, built since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, is between the cities of Berezine (Ukraine) and Basarabeasca (Moldova). The third railway border crossing between Ukraine and Moldova was opened between Serpneve-1 and Basarabeasca.
“So far, this is the shortest route to the ports of Reni, Galati (Romania), Giurgiulesti (Moldova), thanks to which Ukrzaliznytsia will be able to increase the volume of export and transit traffic. The section will allow transporting an additional 4 to 10 million tonnes of cargo per year,” Vyacheslav Eremin, board member of UkrZaliznytsia (UZ) said.
The new route will speed up and reduce the cost of transporting goods to and from Ukraine from the ports of Reni, as well as from the Galati and Giurgiulesti. The delivery time for export cargoes to the ports of Moldova, Romania, as well as the Ukrainian Reni will be reduced by 4-6 days.
At the same time, the cost of transportation will decrease by 10-35 dollars per 1 ton, depending on the cargo and route, according to Valery Tkachev, Deputy Director of the Department of Commercial Work of UZ.
The other two border railway crossings between Ukraine and Moldova are Sokiryany-Oknita and Mogilev-Podolsky-Velchynets.
“Ukrainian ports on the Danube have increased cargo turnover by 3.5 times and this is not the limit. We continue to expand them,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said. “Ukraine makes the most of the potential of its Danube ports”.
Romania also intends to invest 1.83 billion lei ($398.5 million) in the reconstruction of the railway line to the border with Moldova. The section Darmenesti-Viksani-Border takes over international freight and passenger rail traffic from Ukraine and connects to the Rhine-Danube Corridor with the countries of southeastern and northeastern Europe.
Ukraine helping Moldova with the railway connections will boost trade for both countries and tighten relations with Moldova.
Moldova has an internal problem with Transnistria which is an unrecognised breakaway state that is internationally recognised as a part of Moldova. Transnistria is supported by Russia.
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