Ships transiting the country’s major ports have reportedly been delayed close to Istanbul, where cargoes need to be checked by teams from Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, and the UN — the parties that are part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The deal has reportedly revived Ukraine’s seaborne trade despite the war, even though congestion has held up sales. A queue comprising 105 vessels was waiting in Turkish waters as of Monday, with a few stalled for over a month, per the initiative’s Joint Coordination Centre.
Given the current bottlenecks, relevant officials from Ukraine recently were engaged in conversations with representatives of the agriculture industry regarding the prioritization of the relatively larger vessels, per Roman Slaston, the head of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Council.
Reportedly, a proposal had been discussed to limit the corridor to the bigger vessels: at least 15,000 tons for those loaded with bulk oilseeds or grains and 6,000 tons or above that for vegetable-oil tankers.
Taras Vysotskyi, Ukraine’s Deputy Agriculture Minister, reportedly confirmed the discussions on Logistics Issues in Agriculture at a meeting.
The centre, which was formed in April this year, serves as an advisory body to the industry, even though it cannot pass the formal rules.
A UN spokesperson associated with the Black Sea Grain Initiative mentioned that the deal has no limitations on the vessel size. The ship movements are authorized and based on the applications from the relevant Ukrainian seaport authority.
Over 500 vessels have set sail from Black Sea ports based in Ukraine since the deal was inked in July, transporting crops worth 12 million tons abroad. Of the total, nearly half were below 15,000 tons, JCC’s data reflect.
Delegations at the JCC have been considering ways to expedite inspections; it elaborated on Monday.
On Tuesday, Coceral, a Europe-based grain-industry lobby, called for enhanced transparency regarding the inspections. It mentioned that the delays — coupled with strikes on Ukraine’s infrastructure — are compelling the local farmers to sell at a discounted rate and adding mounting pressure on worldwide food security.
References: Bloomberg, Yahoo! Finance