Istanbul/Kyiv (Reuters) – According to Ukrainian and Turkish officials, four more ships sailed from Ukrainian Black Sea ports on Sunday carrying about 170,000 tonnes of corn and other food items as part of an agreement to reopen the nation’s exports following Russia’s incursion.
The deal was mediated by the United Nations and Turkey last month following fears that the conflict’s impact on grain supplies might trigger catastrophic food shortages and even famine outbreaks in some areas of the world.
Oleksandr Kubrakov, the minister of infrastructure for Ukraine, said there were plans to increase shipments even more.
“We are gradually transitioning to more work with a higher volume. In the foreseeable future, we intend to guarantee that the ports can handle at least 100 vessels every month “Added he.
The minister announced on Facebook that Ukraine would soon begin exporting grain from its Black Sea port of Pivdennyi, an expansion that would allow it to send out a total of at least 3 million tonnes of products a month.
Together, Russia and Ukraine accounted for about a third of the world’s wheat exports prior to the start of what Russia refers to as its “special military operation.” Ukraine exported up to 6 million tonnes of grain each month during times of peace from its Black and Azov seaports.
A Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul, which is staffed by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, and U.N. employees, is in charge of overseeing the restart of grain exports.
On Monday of last week, the first cargo ship under the deal departed Ukraine, and three more did the same on Friday.
Late on Saturday, the JCC announced that it had granted permission for five more vessels to go through the Black Sea corridor: four leaving Ukraine’s Chornomorsk and Odesa ports with 161,084 metric tonnes of food, and one coming into Ukraine to pick up grain.
MEAL, SUNFLOWER OIL, AND CORN
Glory, carrying 66,000 tonnes of maize for Istanbul, and Riva Wind, carrying 44,000 tonnes of corn for Iskenderun, Turkey, were among the ships that departed Ukrainian ports, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry.
The other two ships, according to the report, were Star Helena and Mustafa Necati. Mustafa Necati was carrying 6,000 tonnes of sunflower oil for Italy while Star Helena was transporting 45,000 tonnes of meal for China.
The bulk carrier Fulmar S, which had arrived at the Black Sea port of Chornomorsk on Saturday as the first foreign-flagged ship to enter Ukraine since the conflict, was ready for loading, according to the Infrastructure Ministry of Ukraine later on Sunday.
The JCC claimed that the procedures for carrying out the grain sale were almost done and would be publicized soon.
Osprey S, which was headed towards Chornomorsk, was also allowed to move while being inspected, the statement continued. Currently, that ship is anchored off the coast of Istanbul.
The ship Rojen, bringing 13,000 tonnes of corn to Britain, the ship Polarnet, carrying 12,000 tonnes of corn to a Turkish port, and the ship Osprey S, bound for Ukraine, have all undergone inspections by the JCC, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry.
The third of the three ships that departed Ukrainian ports on Friday was Navistar (NYSE: NAV), and the JCC finished its inspection of it on Saturday.
According to the Ukrainian embassy in Lebanon, the first ship to depart a Ukrainian port as part of the agreement won’t make its scheduled Sunday arrival in Lebanon. On Monday, the Razoni departed Odesa with 26,527 tonnes of maize.
The embassy told Reuters the ship was “having a delay” and “not arriving today,” with no details on a new arrival date or the cause of the delay. On Sunday morning, the Razoni was visible off the Turkish coast according to Refinitiv Eikon data.