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Ukraine Introduces New Humanitarian Corridor in Black Sea for Grain Shipping
By Sea and Coast | 23/08/2023
After successfully evacuating a vessel along the channel in the Black Sea, Ukraine is contemplating the use of its recently tested export route for shipping grain. A senior agricultural official disclosed this on Monday.
Following its invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, Russia has reportedly blockaded Ukrainian ports. It further issued threats to treat vessels as potential military targets, withdrawing from a UN-backed safe passage agreement the previous month.
In response, Ukraine established a "humanitarian corridor" tracing the western coastline near Bulgaria and Romania. Last Monday, a Hong Kong-flagged container ship that had been trapped at Odesa port since the invasion used this path without meeting any difficulties or being fired upon.
So far, only a commercial vessel has utilized this route, demonstrating its willingness to adopt alternative channels. Denys Marchuk, deputy head of Ukraine's leading agribusiness organization, the Agrarian Council, conveyed this on national television.
Additionally, Marchuk explained that approximately 7 or 8 more vessels are expected to pass through. He noted that these alternative routes will subsequently serve as corridors for ships transporting oil seeds and grain.
Reports from the Financial Times indicate that Kyiv is in the final stages of securing an agreement with global insurers to provide coverage for grain vessels traveling to and from Black Sea ports. This was mentioned by Ukraine's deputy economy minister, Oleksandr Gryban.
Ukraine is a prominent global grain grower and exporter, exporting millions of metric tonnes of food from its deepwater Black Sea ports of Mykolaiv and Odesa on a regular basis. However, the country has also had to rely on Danube river ports due to Russia's withdrawal from the agreement.
To incentivize vessel owners to utilize Ukrainian ports, which have faced threats from Russia's forces, Marchuk revealed that Ukraine has allocated 20 billion hryvnias for vessel insurance.
He emphasized that not all ship owners would be willing to risk their vessels in an uncertain environment.