Levensader voor wereldwijde voedselzekerheid
July 7, 2023 - An international deal that allows Ukraine’s grain shipments by sea will expire in July. The Black Sea Grain Initiative has enabled 32.75 million tonnes of crops to reach global markets.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 last year, Ukrainian grain exports became severely disrupted. Russian military vessels blocked Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea for over four months.
On July 22, 2022, the United Nations and Turkey agreed to open a safe maritime humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea -- the “Black Sea Grain Initiative.” Since then, 8.8 million tonnes of wheat and 16.7 million tonnes of maize have shipped from the three Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.
Global leaders are desperately trying to salvage the deal before it expires in less than two weeks.
The European Union, the U.S. and UN are considering offering concessions to the sanctioned Russian Agricultural Bank for an extension from July 17.
The concessions would let the bank handle payments related to grain exports and use the SWIFT global financial messaging system, which was closed to Russian banks after the invasion.
However, Russia’s foreign ministry said this week that there are “no grounds” to continue the pact.
“It feels different this time,” said Tariel Khajishvili, director at shipping agent Novik LLC in Odesa. Vessel traffic at the vital grain hub of Chornomorsk is now “completely dead.”
In June, Ukraine’s government committed $547 million to an insurance fund to compensate companies with vessels going to its Black Sea ports if the deal collapses.
“The problem is which shipowners would be willing to take the risk,” added Khajishvili.