Port of Chornomorsk

Maersk has launched the first deepsea container service in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion led to the withdrawal of box ships by the major carriers.

Part of a collaboration with Ukrainian feeder operator Iteris, the service is utilising a 1,100+ teu vessel to connect Ukraine’s deepsea port of Chornomorsk with Romania’s Constanta container terminal.

Odessa-based consultancy Informall BG’s Daniil Melnychenko told The Loadstar: “In April, Iteris and Maersk were in the process of bringing empty containers for the exporters and shipping full cargo containers to Constanta for transhipment. Arkas, CMA CGM, Evergreen and MSC are sharing the space on the service.”

Mr Melnychenko said he expected to see volumes double over the coming months, with more shipping lines joining the service. And, with the addition of extra ship, he added, it was quite likely that the service would bypass the Romanian gateway and instead ship directly to Ukraine from Egypt and Turkey, as was usual before the war.

Iteris and Maersk had also collaborated on a barge service, transferring boxes between another Ukrainian Danube port, Reni, and Constanta, but the launch of the deepwater service has led to its cancellation, with the last barge scheduled for 15 June.

Meanwhile, Turkish shipping line Akkon has started a feeder service with its own ships into Chornomorsk.

Mr Melnychenko said it would be the only carrier offering its own vessels for services to the port, but, perhaps more importantly, given it has been running a service to the Danube’s Izmail port, he added it may have something of a head start.

“It has been shipping to and from Izmail since the war began. Its volumes are expected to be considerable, as clients transfer to larger vessels and better scheduling,” he said.

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