Bulgaria offers Port of Varna as logistics hub for Ukrainian export goods

2022/05/03 at 9:03 AM

Bulgaria is also interested in becoming a new gateway for Ukrainian export goods. The country’s Prime Minister Kiril Petkov offered Ukraine to use the facilities of the Bulgarian port of Varna, particularly in moving grain and other bulk freight.

“Bulgaria will be absolutely happy to offer the Port of Varna as a logistics hub, in particular for transhipping flour and sunflower as well as distributing grain that you cannot send through your ports. We are ready to provide Varna as a central logistics point for you,” Prime Minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov said at a press conference in Kyiv on Thursday, 28 April. He did not mention any approximate volumes of the Ukrainian products that the Bulgarian port is ready to handle. Meanwhile, to accept the proposal of Bulgaria, the Ukrainian shippers and forwarders need to arrange quite new ways of delivering the goods from Ukraine to the Port of Varna.

Possible ways for delivery

There could be at least three possible ways of delivering the Ukrainian goods to Bulgaria. The first one is by road transport. It is reliable as it does not require any transhipments at the borders and the delivery could be organised from the storage capacity of the customer directly to the Port of Varna. However, the usage of trucks will cost much more compared to other modes of transport due to the long distances. For instance, there are 600 kilometres between Odesa and Varna by road. The distance from other parts of Ukraine to Varna is even more.

Two other ways are more complicated as they need additional operations. The rail delivery is not so expensive in terms of cost but transhipment of goods on the border between Ukraine and Romania is required due to the break of gauge.

Loading a barge at the Port of Silistra, source: Lesil AD, the owner of the Port of Silistra

The third way could be the most realistic compared to others but it requires the well-coordinated work of several participants. It includes at least three legs with a different mode of transport. The delivery on the first section of the route, namely in Ukraine, can be performed by road or rail transport to Ukraine’s Port of Izmail, which is located on the Danube River. Thence, the grain can be moved to Bulgaria by barges, to be more precise to the Port of Silistra, which is around 150 kilometres from Varna. Therefore, the delivery on the Silistra-Varna can be provided by trucks or trains.

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