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Three Grain Ships Leave Ukraine

Official: Could 'take months' for Ukrainian exports to reach prewar levels

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot
Oqtave | BIGSTOCK
Oqtave | BIGSTOCK

Three ships loaded with grain under a recently concluded deal have left Ukrainian ports, the Turkish defenсe ministry and Reuters witnesses said on Friday.

The three vessels carrying a total of about 58,000 tonnes of corn have been authorized to leave Ukrainian ports as part of a deal to unblock grain exports. Two ships were setting off from Chornomorsk and one from Odesa.

World food prices fall

Bloomberg reported that global food prices fell the most since 2008 after concerns over supplies of grains and vegetable oils eased as Ukraine moved toward restarting exports.

A United Nations index of world food costs plunged almost 9% in July. The index fell to the lowest since January, before Russia’s blockade of ports in Ukraine pushed up food costs to a record.

Could 'take months' for Ukrainian exports to reach prewar levels

Earlier in the week, the Financial Times reported that Ukraine’s infrastructure minister has warned it will take months before grain exports from Odesa and neighboring ports reach prewar levels and alleviate the global food crisis.

On Monday, Oleksander Kubrakov said he expected no more than five vessels to leave in the next two weeks from Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi.

Last August, 194 grain-carrying vessels departed Ukrainian ports, including now Russia-controlled Mariupol, according to London-based shipbroker Braemar.

Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi previously handled about 60% of all Ukrainian grain exports.

Ukrainian storage problems persist

The challenge now, reports the Wall Street Journal, is to make sure ships reach their destination smoothly, and then accelerate operations to export an estimated 16 million metric tons of grain trapped in Ukraine since war broke out.

But silos and barns are fast filling up with this season’s wheat and barley harvests, raising fears that storage space will run out.

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