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Ukraine: Grain is stuck – EU promises help with export


With new routes and better logistics, the EU wants to bring 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine within three months. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin has announced a record wheat harvest for Russia.

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Wheat storage in Ukraine

Photo: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Ukrainian farmers are faced with a problem that threatens their existence: Because the central shipping routes across the Black Sea are blocked by the Russian war of aggression, farms in Ukraine are left with tons of grain.

Selling the goods is important in order to make room for the coming harvest and to be able to buy seeds for the next season.

Now the EU Commission has promised that it will work with EU governments to help Ukraine export grain.

"20 million tons of grain have to leave Ukraine via the EU infrastructure in less than three months," said EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean.

"It's a gigantic challenge, and that's why it's important to coordinate and optimize the logistics chains, set up new routes and avoid bottlenecks as much as possible."

The Commission asked transport companies to provide more vehicles, trucks and rolling stock for freight transport.

She also announced a logistics platform to better coordinate free means of transport and goods.

Ukrainian agricultural exports at terminals should also have priority.

At the border terminals, transshipment is to be accelerated through more loading capacity.

Efforts are already being made to increase rail transport, but Ukraine's railways use broad gauge, a relic of Tsarist and Soviet times.

From Poland, the wagons have to be switched to standard gauge.

There is already a large train backlog on the border with Poland.

As a result of the war, financial risks have become a problem for transport companies in addition to safety.

The Commission now also wants to examine guarantees for truck companies to insure the vehicles they send to Ukraine.

The Commission called on EU governments to allow maximum flexibility at border crossings and to speed up procedures by adequately staffing them.

Last year, around ten percent of the wheat exported worldwide came from Ukraine.

Much of it is now missing.

The Ministry of Agriculture in Kyiv recently announced that 763,000 tons of grain were exported in April - compared to 2.8 million tons in the same month last year.

To date, Ukraine has shipped 90 percent of its exports through the Black Sea and Azov Sea ports.

But these were closed - sea mines and Russian attacks make shipping almost impossible.

Putin speaks of a possible record harvest

President Vladimir Putin has meanwhile announced that Russia will increase its wheat exports this year despite Western sanctions due to a possible record harvest.

"It could be a new record in Russian history," Putin said at a meeting of senior business leaders in Moscow.

According to this, a grain harvest of 130 million tons is expected in the current year, 87 million tons of which will be wheat.

Russia harvested a record 133.5 million tons of grain in 2020, including 85.9 million tons of wheat.

Last year, however, the harvest was smaller.

Putin did not give a specific estimate of exports.

Russia is one of the world's largest grain exporters.

The country continues to export despite difficulties with logistics and payments caused by Western sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.

Thus, wheat is shipped from the Russian side of the Black Sea and sporadically from the Sea of ​​Azov.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-05-12

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