At the final stage of World War II on August 26, 1944, Izmail was retaken from the German invaders. The State Defense Committee of the USSR instructed to the leadership of the Black Sea Shipping Company to ensure the advance of the left wing of the 3rd Ukrainian Front. At the end of August of the same year, in order to provide transportation along the Danube of military units, ammunition, military equipment and supplies for the advancing troops, a task force of the People's Commissariat for the Maritime Fleet, which arrived in Izmail from Odessa, was created. Together with the military commandants of the ports, the task force received a towing and barge fleet.
From August 26 to September 4, two rifle brigades, one moto-brigade, an infantry corps, an armor group of the 3rd Ukrainian Front were transferred by all waterborne platform from Izmail to Galati. After building bridges in Izmail and Isacceа, the released tonnage was sent up the Danube with military cargo. The task force provided transportation along the Danube, which became a great importance not only for the needs of the front, but also for solving the national economic problems of the USSR and the liberated Danube countries that had experienced a deep economic crisis. The question of creating a transportation provider on the Danube became trenchant and October 14, 1944 by the People's Commissariat for the Maritime Fleet of the USSR P. Shirshov signed an order on the organization of the Soviet Danube State Shipping Company in Izmail and maritime agencies. The new provider faced many difficulties, one of which was personnel issue. In autumn, experienced captains from the Black Sea and Caspian Shipping Companies, specialists from Astrakhan, Arkhangelsk, Mariupol, Baku and other cities, graduates of nautical schools and naval schools were sent to Izmail. So, gradually the fleet of the Soviet Danube State Shipping Company was staffed with its own personnel.
The Lower Danube was reclaimed, the work of the ports was improved, and experts from other shipping companies of the USSR gained experience in the hardest conditions of wartime. Danube Shipping Company passed a range of stages in its development:
reconstruction of the captured damaged and sunken vessels salvaged from the bottom of the river;
The vessels of the shipping company transported annually 70% of all the Danube cargoes, mainly metal, grain, ore, equipment which made the Soviet Danube Shipping Company a monopolist on the river.
In 1957 in the Kiliya part of the Danube delta, a deep-water canal Prorva was constructed which aided development of the maritime traffic and the UDP fleet.
The shipping company reached maritime foreign lines in the late 50s, when the sea vessels of “Tisa” type came into operation. In the 60s the sea dry cargo vessels of “Tartu”, “Elva”, “Fryazino”, “Shenkursk”, “Novyi Donbass”, “Inzhener Belov”, “Baltiyskiy”, “Aleksandr Dovzhenko” types (altogether about 30 vessels), and in the 70s 35 tank and dry cargo vessels of “Kishinev”, “Baltika”, “Altay”, “Sosnovets”, “Rostok”, “Yunyi partizan”, “Vasiliy Shukshin” types were built. The cargo-carrying capacity of the sea self-propelled fleet amounted to 300 000 ton.
On May 19, 1978 on the basis of the inter-governmental agreement of four countries, that is Bulgaria, Hungary, Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, an international business shipping company “Interlighter” was established; the shipping companies BRP, MAHART, SDP and ČSPD became its partners. Direct cargo transportation in lighters between the Danube countries and the countries of South and Southeast Asia was within the scope of its activity.
Since 1984 the lighter-carrier transport technological system was in place operated by “Boris Polevoy”, “Pavel Antokolskiy”, “Anatoliy Zheleznyakov” and “Nikolay Markin” lighters. The system was used in the following directions: ports of the Black and Mediterranean Seas, Middle East, North and East Africa.
During the period of its existence (from December 1978 till September 1995) the sea vessels of ISC “Interlighter” named “Yulius Fuchik” and “Tibor Samueli” made 252 voyages on the Danube — India – Pakistan line and the Danube – the Mekong line. The traffic volume for these years amounted to 6,4 million ton, including the export to the Danube countries in 4,3 million ton.
In the 80s the Soviet Danube Shipping Company was a large integrated enterprise, that included the ports of Izmail, Reni, Kiliya (in 1987 its status changed, it became the port station of Ust-Dunaysk port), Ust-Dunaysk, Kiliya Shipbuilding and Shiprepair Yard, Izmail Shiprepair Yard. The cargo fleet alone numbered over 1000 units with about 1 million deadweight ton. The SDP provided transportation of foreign trade cargoes, foreign-owned in the Danube basin cargoes, and also transportation to the ports of the Black, Mediterranean, Red Seas, Southeast Asia, West and North Europe.
The annual traffic volume amounted to 11,5 – 12 million ton. The vessels of our shipping company visited annually over 150 ports in the various countries allover the world. The passenger sea and river vessels carried out the transportation of Soviet and foreign guests. The passenger travel line “From the Alps to the Black Sea”, having great popularity, proved the commercial viability of passenger traffic for the first time in the USSR maritime fleet system. This line was operated by the river motor vessels “Amur”, “Dunay” and the sea vessels “Belinskiy”, “Osetiya”. With the route extended up to Istanbul (Turkey), modern comfortable vessels swung into the line, i.e. “Volga”, “Dnepr”, “Ukraina”, “Moldavia” and the sea motor vessel “Aivazovsky”.
Local liner shipment was operated by the hydrofoil vessels “Raketa”, “Voskhod”, “Meteor” (one sea vessel, namely “Kometa”), pleasure boats and lake trams, since the 80s “Izmail” and “Izmail-2” were brought into operation.
In 1983 the Soviet Danube Shipping Company was awarded an Order of Peoples’ Friendship.
After Ukraine gained independence, the Soviet Danube Shipping Company on November 20, 1991, was renamed into Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company. There appeared national flags and symbols on all vessels.
In December 1994, State Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company was transformed into Open Joint-Stock Company “Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company” (UDASCO) according to the Decree of the President of Ukraine "About corporatization of the enterprises" of June 15, 1993.
In September 1997, UDASCO was renamed into Open Joint-Stock Company "Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company" (OJSC “UDP”).
In the 90s the fleet of the Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company got a range of six sea vessels built in Portugal. The first-in-class MV Izmail, the first vessel which came into commission sailing under the flag of sovereign Ukraine, was recognized as the best of its class by an authoritative maritime publication “Lloyd List” in 1990. The main cargoes of the maritime traffic are metal, grain, lumber, fertilizers, citrus fruit.
In order to increase the efficiency of transportation at the end of the 90s there was a need for the tonnage of the maximum possible capacity. The preliminary study of the project was carried out by the technical department specialists, planning and design office, together with the security services of navigation, operation of the river fleet, technical operation of the fleet. The final version of the project was completed at the Kiliya Shipbuilding and Shiprepair Yard, and the first barge-section UDP-SL-001 was floated off in April 1998. The barge was joined from two DM lighters and intended for the transportation of bulk dry cargo and general cargoes, a capacity is 2000 tons, dimensions match the standards of "Europe-II".
In 1999, the first tank lighter-section UDP-SLT-001 was floated off at the Kiliya Shipbuilding and Shiprepair Yard; in 2001 the barge-section for grain cargo UDP-SLG-001 was floated off. At the beginning of 2004 a four-year development contract was signed at the Kiliya Shipbuilding and Shiprepair Yard for 20 barges of the “Europe-II b” type, a fundamentally new non-self-propelled fleet for the shipping company to operate on the Rhine.
The framework documents certifying the high quality of work of the shipping company are ISM Code certificate — safety management certificate and ISO-9002 quality system certificate of conformity obtained first in Ukraine.
In 2001 the OJSC “Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company” was the first in the country to be assigned a status of the national carrier.
In 2011, the Open Joint-Stock Company "Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company” (OJSC "UDP") was renamed into a Private Joint-Stock Company (PJSC "UDP").