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Two Grain Ships Arrive in Black Sea Port Using “Humanitarian Corridor”

Reuters writers Pavel Polityuk, Olena Harmash and Michelle Nichols reported on Saturday that, “Two cargo vessels arrived in Ukraine on Saturday, Ukrainian port authorities said, the first ships to use a temporary corridor to sail into Black Sea ports and load grain for African and Asian markets.

“Ukraine last month announced a ‘humanitarian corridor’ in the Black Sea to release ships trapped in its ports since the start of the war in February 2022 and to circumvent a de facto blockade after Russia abandoned a deal to let Kyiv export grain.

Five vessels have so far left the port of Odesa, using the corridor which hugs the western Black Sea coast near Romania and Bulgaria.”

The article noted that, “The Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority, in a post on Facebook, said the bulk carriers ‘Resilient Africa’ and ‘Aroyat’ had arrived in the port of Chernomorsk.

“They were due to load almost 20,000 tonnes of wheat for Africa and Asia, Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said earlier.”

Also Saturday, Bloomberg writers Aine Quinn and Kateryna Choursina reported that, ”

Ukraine is defying Russia’s de-facto blockade of its Black Sea ports by sending empty ships to collect grain for the first time since a safe-passage deal collapsed almost two months ago.

“Two ships ‘confirmed their readiness to use the route to the port of Chornomorsk to load almost 20,000 tons of wheat for Africa and Asia,’ Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on social media. The ships carry the flags of Palau and crew members are from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Egypt and Ukraine.

“Both vessels were at the port of Chornomorsk as of Saturday evening, according to ship tracking data.”

“Grain Ships Head For Ukraine Black Sea Port, Defying Russia,” by Aine Quinn and Kateryna Choursina. Bloomberg News (September 16, 2023).

New York Times writers Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Vivek Shankar reported on Sunday that, “But establishing a corridor secure enough for a regular flow of cargo vessels to sail from Ukraine’s seaports is risky, not least because the Black Sea has become an increasingly critical theater in the war as Ukraine contests Russia’s naval dominance.”

The Times article explained that, “Underlining the risks, Russia launched a drone and missile attack early Sunday on the Odesa region of southern Ukraine.

A granary and farmland north of the port city of Odesa were hit, according to Oleh Kiper, the head of the regional military administration. Air defenses intercepted six drones and six missiles, the Ukrainian Air Force said in a post on the Telegram messaging app. The claims could not be independently verified.”

The Times article reminded readers that, “In addition to abrogating the grain deal, Russia said in July that it would consider any ship sailing into a Ukrainian port as potentially carrying military cargo, in a clear warning to civilian shipping. Last month, a Russian patrol vessel fired warning shots at a civilian vessel on the Black Sea and then boarded it to conduct an inspection.


“Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania — three of the six countries that border the Black Sea — are NATO members, a fact that would most likely act as a deterrent to any country seeking to attack a ship in its waters. Kyiv, however, does not benefit from the alliance’s protective umbrella, though it is pressing for membership, which President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine sees as a major strategic objective.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg writer Aine Quinn reported on Saturday that, “Russia’s second consecutive bumper wheat harvest is reinforcing its position as the No. 1 exporter, but it’s also easing price pressures stemming from Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.”

“Flood of Russian Wheat Halves World Prices From Wartime High,” by Aine Quinn. Bloomberg News (September 16, 2023).

Quinn pointed out that, “The Kremlin’s war — including blockading and bombarding ports — has hobbled Ukraine’s food exports, helping cement Russia’s domination of the global wheat market. That’s reflected in record Russian shipments, as the nation’s traders overcome the financing and logistical challenges some faced in the aftermath of the invasion.

“However, Russia’s overflowing grain ports have also yielded a silver lining for wheat consumers buffeted by a cost-of-living crisis: the lowest prices in almost three years.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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