Home News Ukraine’s seaborne grain exports rebound to near pre-war levels

Ukraine’s seaborne grain exports rebound to near pre-war levels


The 700-foot-long, Liberian-flagged ship slowly sailed out of the Ukrainian port of Odessa, past rows of yellow cranes, and into the calm waters of the Black Sea. Its hull was almost completely submerged, weighed down by corn destined for Bangladesh. At sea, more cargo ships laden with grain have left the port, passing incoming ships.

It was mid-March in Odessa, something that would have seemed unthinkable just last summer. Russian naval blockade The paralysis of all business activities has now become a reality. The port resumed its usual bustle, the result of a disaster. Military operation to drive Russian warships out of Ukrainian waters and ensured transportation routes to foreign markets.

The operation has been so successful that Ukraine’s seaborne exports of grains and oilseeds – the economic lifeblood of the war-torn country – are now close to pre-war levels, according to data shared with The New York Times.

Ukraine exported 27.6 million tons of grains and oilseeds through the Black Sea, the country’s main export route, in the past six months, according to data from the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority. This is only 200,000 tons less than the average export volume for the same period from 2018 to 2021, before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Ukrainian data show that in the first quarter of this year, grain exports from the Black Sea region even exceeded pre-war levels.

Kiev-based investment firm Dragon Capital’s estimates of grain and oilseed exports, as well as data on the number of grain ships arriving at Ukrainian ports Lloyd’s IntelligenceA shipping data company noted a similar trend.

Sal Gilbertie, principal of Teucrium Trading, a U.S. company that sells agricultural-related securities on the New York Stock Exchange Statement from Ukrainian officials The statement that seaborne grain exports were close to pre-war levels was “accurate.”

Ukraine still faces a number of challenges that could prevent grain exports from stabilizing at pre-war levels, including continued Russian attacks on port facilities and a smaller harvest this year.U.S. Department of Agriculture expect Ukrainian grain exports will decrease in the near future.

But analysts say the overall environment has been improving, noting that trucking companies are still eager to transport Ukrainian grain despite the war. “The data shows there is no shortage of shipowners willing to take the risk of getting in there,” said Greg Miller, senior maritime correspondent at Lloyd’s Register.

Ensuring large amounts of grain exports is a strategic need for Ukraine. Grains and oilseeds accounted for a third of Ukraine’s exports last year, said Dragon Capital senior analyst Natalia Shpygotska. They were crucial to sustaining Ukraine’s war-torn economy and, ultimately, the war effort.

Tariel Khajishvili, head of Ukrainian shipping agency Novik LLC in Odessa, said “it is clear that without food exports” the country’s The economy will be in trouble.

Following the Russian invasion, Ukraine was forced to halt trade through the Black Sea for several months due to Russian military control of the Black Sea. Threaten global food security. July 2022, An agreement brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye Allow Ukraine to resume exports through the agreed Black Sea corridor.

but Russia withdrew from the deal a year later and threatened all merchant ships entering and leaving Ukraine, leading to a halt to seaborne grain exports last August.

In an effort to revive exports, the Ukrainian military launched an operation to drive the Russian navy from parts of the Black Sea, destroying many of its warships and attacking its headquarters in Crimea, the Russian-occupied Ukrainian peninsula.this Successful operation allows Ukraine to establish new shipping corridor It will circle the Ukrainian coast before taking the vessel into the territorial waters of the NATO member state.

Dmytro Barinov, deputy director of Ukraine’s seaports authority, recalled that when the first grain ship sailed through the corridor in mid-September, “we were very nervous — we prayed for everything to go well.”

Eventually, he said, the ship escaped safely and “familiar, pleasant sounds” could soon be heard in Odessa again.

According to data compiled by Lloyd’s List, the number of grain ships arriving at three ports in the Odessa region (Odessa itself, Pivdeny and Chernomorsk) increased from five in September to March of 231 ships.

The rise benefited from Ukraine deals with global insurance companies Provide cover for ships. Mr. Gilberti of Teucrium Trading said Moscow was also interested in preventing the fighting from spreading to the Black Sea, which it also uses to export goods.

Today, Ukraine can only transport food by sea using ports in the Odessa region, as other seaports are either too close to Russian shipping lanes to operate or are occupied by Russian troops. Even so, the three ports transport an average of 4.1 million tons of grains and oilseeds per month, which is now close to total pre-war seaborne exports.

The reopening of the Odessa port is a welcome financial boost for Ukraine. important economic assets were lost in the war – such as metal factories in the east, Captured or destroyed by Russia — Ukraine is now more reliant on grain exports to support its economy.Dragon Capital Expected fall The return of Odessa port to full operations could boost Ukraine’s gross domestic product by a few percentage points this year, estimated at 4%.

But analysts warn that the initial success of Ukraine’s new route may not last.

Russia Continued targeting of Odessa’s port infrastructureMore missiles are coming through as Ukraine now faces a shortage of anti-aircraft weapons. In mid-April, Russia succeeded Attack on two food export terminals in Pifdenidestroying several containers.

Dragon Capital’s Ms. Shpygotska also noted that Ukraine’s recent high grain export volumes partly reflect shipment delays caused by the Russian naval blockade, meaning such export volumes may not be achieved again in the future, especially with grain production expected to decline. .

“Producers and exporters are now in a strong position to export as much of their crops as possible,” she said. “But it all depends on the harvest.”

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