Humanitarian corridor for exporting grain from Ukrainian seaports gains momentum

2022/08/10 at 7:33 PM

After the first trial shipment of grain from Odesa to Lebanon, the humanitarian maritime corridor to export grain from the Ukrainian seaports has become regular. In the first 10 days of its functioning, around 400,000 tonnes of cereals were departed from the three harbours in Ukraine to seven countries of the world, mostly in Europe and Asia.

On the evening of 10 August 2022, the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA) reported that the OSPREY bulker had entered the Port of Chornomorsk to pick up 30,000 tonnes of corn. It is the second vessel in this Ukrainian harbour since the beginning of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. Within the first nine days, when the humanitarian maritime corridor commenced, namely from 1 till 9 August, over 370,000 tonnes of agricultural products were exported from Ukraine by sea.

NAVI STAR bulker delivers 30,000 tonnes of corn from Odesa to Ireland, source: Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA)

By combining the two figures, the total volume of grain and other products, which were moved abroad, exceeded 400,000 tonnes. “We can already state the fact that the ‘grain corridor’ has worked in two directions – to the exit and to the entrance to the ports of Ukraine… Once again, I would like to point out that the ‘grain corridor’ is a safe and, most importantly, profitable opportunity for ship-owners to return to Ukrainian ports,” said Oleksiy Vostrikov, chairman of the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority.

Vessels and destinations

According to USPA, 12 vessels have already departed from the three Ukrainian ports including Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi while the two others such as the OSPREY and FULMAR S bulkers have entered the Port of Chornomorsk for picking up the new batch of agricultural products. Most of the ships left the Port of Odesa, which was the pilot location for launching and verifying the possibilities of the humanitarian maritime corridor. The Port of Chornomorsk was reopened for ship calling on 5 August while the first ship left the Port of Pivdennyi, previously the largest harbour in Ukraine in terms of freight traffic, three days later, on 8 August.

FULMAR S bulker enters the Port of Chornomorsk, source: Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA)

Within the 10-day period, there were arranged two caravans of ships as well as single shipments of the vessels. They have various destinations in seven countries of the world. For instance, the first caravan of ships, which had departed on 5 August, headed for Türkiye, Great Britain and Ireland. Two days later, the second caravan left the Ukrainian ports to deliver agricultural products to Italy, China and Türkiye. Some volumes of grain are dedicated to the Netherlands and South Korea.

Future prospects

Before the Russian invasion, the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi handled more than 5 million tonnes of grain monthly. At the moment, the Ukrainian shippers expect to handle no more than 2 million tonnes per month. However, the Ukrainian authorities have a much more ambitious goal. “We receive applications from ship owners who are ready to enter our ports for loading. Our goal is three and more million tonnes of agricultural products every month from the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi,” noted Oleksandr Kubrakov, the minister of infrastructure of Ukraine. To depart such volumes, the three ports in Ukraine must process up to 150 vessels per month.

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