Russian Invasion: EU seeks alternative routes for Ukrainian grain exports
Despite the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports under the UN-Turkish-brokered deal between Russia and Ukraine, the EU intends to continue its efforts to create alternative freight routes for Ukrainian grain exports.
It noted that an immediate return to pre-war levels of Ukrainian exports remained challenging, and alternative export routes were still crucial, the EU Commission told the officials of dpa on Thursday.
EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean stressed that there was room for improvement in the alternative routes being worked on and cited a lack of freight wagons, barge operators and storage facilities for Ukrainian produce.
According to the commission, Ukraine was the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil, the third largest exporter of rapeseed and barley, the fourth largest exporter of maize, and the fifth largest wheat exporter before Russia invaded the country in February.
However, hopes are currently pinned on the agreement with Russia enabling a resumption of regular Ukrainian agricultural exports via the Black Sea.
According to EU figures, before the war, up to five million tonnes of grain passed through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports each month. Reaching that level again in the near future was considered highly unlikely, however, with the first ship to leave the port of Odesa under the UN deal carrying just 26,000 tonnes of maize.
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