Ukraine's Danube port Izmail again closed following Russian attack

Ukrainian port and grain infrastructure along the Danube river in the southern Odesa region have again been hit by Russian drones just days after a previous attack temporarily closed the port, regional authorities have said Wednesday.

The attacks have again stopped activity in the port of Izmail, an increasingly important link in the country's export capacity after Russia pulled out of the Black Sea grain corridor agreement.

According to official data, three stationary storage areas covering an area of 1,000 m2, an elevator, a warehouse roof, and an administrative building were engulfed in fire before being tackled by firefighters.

Trade sources spoken to by Agricensus said that a warehouse containing rapeseed owned by an international company had been destroyed.

Port authorities did not comment on the extent of the damage sustained, but work in the port of Izmail was suspended for an indefinite period until a full appraisal of the damage had been completed and new instructions received.

Trade sources also said that a barge containing sunflower oil was damaged in the attack, but Agricensus could find no confirmation among officials or market sources.

However, the attack would likely see more vessel cancelations and further upward pressure on freight rates as owners factor in the increased risk.

"Now there are attempts to cancel bookings, but there are also those who promise to give vessels, and there are those who ask to increase the price for freight," one freight broker said of the confused situation.

The attack also came on the same day of a planned conversation about a possible return to and extension of the grain corridor that had been expected to be held between the Presidents of Turkey and Russia.

On July 24, a week after the termination of the grain deal and Ukraine's statements about the possibility of independently ensuring the operation of the grain corridor, Russia began attacking the port infrastructure in Ukraine's deep-water and Danube ports.

The escalation caused panic in the market, pushing prices for commodities and freight sharply higher as traders feared a complete blockade of Ukrainian exports from all bulk export options.

The move also accelerated talks about the possibility of moving Ukrainian agriculture products through other alternative routes, such as rail and trucks, rather than increasingly perilous seaborne routes.