On Friday, three more ships carrying 58,041 tonnes of grain were given the green light to leave war-torn Ukraine as part of an agreement to lift the blockade on exports with the hopes of lowering essential food prices.
Earlier this week, the first shipment left Ukraine since the start of the war in February left the port of Odesa, carrying 26,000 tonnes of maize, and has been cleared to proceed towards its final destination: the Lebanese port of Tripoli.
The vessels were able to leave the port after a Black Sea export deal was reached following months of negotiations between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations on the resumption of shipping to and from Ukrainian ports. For the time being, the ships must follow agreed shipping routes and will be supervised by a joint coordination centre based in Istanbul.
The latest departure was approved by the Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), which is managing the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Two will set off sail from the port of Chornomorsk, with one heading to Karasu in Turkey and one to Teesport, in the north of England. Another will depart from Odesa, travelling via the designated “maritime humanitarian corridor" towards Ringaskiddy, Ireland.
Tackling global food insecurity
The JCC is drawing from lessons learnt following the departure of the first vessel (M/V Razoni) and is now testing multi-ship operations in the corridor. This test also includes an inbound ship that is travelling to Chornomorsk.
“The JCC will monitor closely the safe passage of the vessels through the humanitarian maritime corridor.”
Three ports in Ukraine are now due to resume the export of millions of tonnes of wheat, corn and other crops “at a time of global food insecurity," the UN said. This will in time include the export of fertilizer which is desperately needed by farmers across the globe.
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Ukraine is seen as the “breadbasket of the world," while both the war-torn country and Russia are considered the world's granaries.
Since February, transport routes were blocked or destroyed by Russia, while it was restricting its own food exports, resulting in what EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell warned was resulting in a global wave of hunger, and which was causing food prices to skyrocket across the world
Borrell added that ending the war and enabling Ukraine to export its grains through the Black Sea is the only solution. While the former seems unlikely anytime soon, the fact that the green light was given to additional departures of vessels carrying essential food products raises hopes of lowering food prices and easing the global crisis.