Officials are calling on the international community for help in creating alternative logistic routes for the passage of goods as the conflict in Ukraine has reduced operations at ports on the country’s Black Sea coast.

As freight has been diverted from Ukraine, long queues of ships have formed at the ports of Constanța in Romania and Burgas in Bulgaria. Goods bound for Moldova which are crucial to agriculture and other sectors, such as fertiliser, have been blocked by the conflict.

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“We need investment to change these logistic chains,” said Sergiu Gaibu, Moldova’s minister of economy, at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD’s) Annual Meeting held on 10–12 May in Marrakech, Morocco. He noted that while a lot of logistics have shifted from sea to land, this has not reduced the pressure. 

“Previously our logistics chains went through Ukrainian ports, [but] we have already had requests from Ukrainian companies to go through Moldova,” added Mr Gaibu. The minister continued that investment in Moldova has been “affected significantly” by the war, as it is seen as a “worrisome” country. 

Moldova has seen the largest inflow of refugees per capita due to its relatively small population of 2.59 million. More than 450,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered the small country since the war began on February 24, according to UN figures.

Miroslav Kučera, the director of infrastructure and development financing at Aspiro, a consultancy, told fDi that it is “too early to tell” how logistics routes from Ukraine may be changed.

“Given the length of recalibration may take five to six years, it is very difficult to say [how this plays out],” he said. 

While neighbouring countries like Moldova have been impacted by the conflict’s spillover, Ukraine continues to bear the brunt of Russia’s war.

Ukraine’s finance minister Serhiy Marchenko has said that he expects the Ukrainian economy to decline by 45% this year. This is 15 percentage points higher than the EBRD’s forecast of a 30% decline in Ukraine’s economy.

“The people of Ukraine are paying an enormous price, and this price cannot be assessed” said Mr Marchenko via video link to the EBRD meeting. The minister outlined the widespread destruction of the country, including over 200 hospitals and 300 schools.

“This is the price we pay for building a European sovereign state,” he said. “But this is not a typical war … the Ukrainian government continues to be fully operational.”

Mr Marchenko continued that Ukraine was “committed to service its foreign debt in full”.