Panafrican News Agency

Black Sea exports ramp up, bringing confidence to global commerce and food to most vulnerable

New York, US (PANA) - Two months since the Black Sea Grain Initiative kicked into action to help release desperately needed grain and fertiliser from ports in Ukraine and Russia, confidence is returning among global distributors as exports ramp up, UN humanitarians said on Thursday.

Described as a “beacon of hope” by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the signing ceremony for the plan on 27 July in Istanbul, Turkey, with representatives from Russian and Ukraine, the agreement has made it possible for almost 240 vessels to leave Ukrainian ports with some 5.4 million metric tons of grain and other foodstuffs, since 1 August 2022.

“What I am seeing with the Black Sea Grain Initiative is an increase in confidence, confidence in the shipping community, the commercial shipping community,” said Dennis Malone, a UN Representative at the Joint Coordination in Odesa, Ukraine, for boats arriving and departing from the port.

“We are seeing the price of shipping insurance reduced, we are seeing the quality of ships that are being used to come in to export the grain are increasing. We are also seeing an increase in confidence in the local community, in the farming community. They are starting to see that their grain is being exported, that the silos are being emptied and that they can start planning for future harvests.” 

A UN statement said one ship in Odesa, the BC Vanessa, is the fourth humanitarian vessel to be chartered by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) out of Ukraine. After it left Ukrainian waters, its cargo was inspected in Istanbul, as with all of the ships which are part of the initiative.

Its precious cargo - 30,000 tonnes of wheat - is destined for Afghanistan, to alleviate the desperate humanitarian emergency there.

Other UN shipments taking part in the initiative have already delivered wheat to Ethiopia and Yemen.

The statement said one result of the deal has been a sharp drop in global food prices, which has allowed consumers to purchase grain more easily, once again.

Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, normally supplies around 45 million tonnes to the global market every year.

After Russia’s invasion of the country on 24 February, mountains of grain built up in silos, with ships unable to secure safe passage to and from Ukrainian ports. Today, although sea routes are open again, serious economic challenges remain for the country’s farmers.

-0- PANA MA 30Sept2022