Ukraine achieves record grain and oilseed exports since Russian full-scale war

In April 2024, Ukraine exported an unprecedented 6.6 million tons of grain and oilseed, the highest volume since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion, according to a report by UK intelligence on May 22. 

This demonstrates Ukraine’s ability to export unilaterally via its shipping corridor in the Black Sea, the analysts said. The throughput capacity of the Black Sea ports reached a monthly export volume higher than at any other time during the full-scale war, including within the framework of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI).

Approximately 5.2 million tons out of the total export volume of grain and oilseeds in April were shipped from Ukrainian Black Sea ports, compared to the peak of 4.2 million tons within the BSGI in October 2022.

Ukraine’s maritime corridor enabled around 1,600 transits by vessels and exports of a total of 45 million tons of cargo since its launch in August 2023. The majority of this volume consists of agricultural exports — over 30 million tons in 9 months. The rest primarily is iron ore and steel products that could not be exported by sea during the BSGI, the intelligence said.

Such a result overall will contribute to the recovery of Ukraine’s economy, the report said.

Shipping from Ukraine is vital for global food security, with Ukrainian grain exports representing around 9.7% of the world’s grain exports from July 2023 to June 2024.

While agricultural exports depend on Black Sea ports, which handle about 78% in volume, other routes remain in use, the report said.

Ukraine continues to export grain and oilseeds via the Danube River at around 15% by volume, rail at around 6%, and road at under 1%.

Black Sea Grain Initiative

At the beginning of the war, Russia blockaded Ukrainian Black Sea ports and disrupted maritime trade in the region. This led to enormous consequences, since nearly 400 million people, including in Africa and Asia, depend on food exports from Ukraine.

In July 2022, the UN and Turkey mediated a deal that allowed for safe passage of civilian cargo vessels to and from Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, pending inspections by Russian officials who verified the ships were not delivering arms to Ukraine.

Russia officially terminated its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17, 2023. At the same time, Moscow withdrew its guarantees of safe navigation in the Black Sea.

The Ukrainian Navy announced on Aug. 10, 2023, new temporary routes for civilian vessels to and from Black Sea ports after the suspension of the grain deal involving the UN, Turkey, and Russia in July.

Ukraine has independently established a grain corridor in the Black Sea, Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Olha Stefanishyna, said during a briefing at the representation of the European Commission in Vienna on Nov. 23.

Ukraine, without an agreement with Turkey, the UN, or Russia, has secured a Black Sea grain corridor on its own, said Stefanishyna, quoted by Ukrinform.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced in November 2023 that in less than three months, Ukraine had exported 6 million tons of goods through the temporary grain corridor. Russia is gradually losing control over the Black Sea and retreating to the eastern part of the waters.


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