Ekonomichna Pravda reports that the European Business Association (EBA) calls on the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Turkish Ambassador to Ukraine to do everything possible to facilitate an increase in the number of inspections of vessels transporting Ukrainian agricultural products within the grain initiative.
It is known that Russia has been deliberately sabotaging and artificially slowing down ship inspections in the Bosphorus as part of the grain initiative since October 2022, resulting in a consistently long queue of more than 100 vessels.
In its recent statement, the EBA emphasized that Ukraine was one of the world’s leading food suppliers despite the full-scale war in the country.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, Ukraine exported more than 50 million tons of grain, oilseeds, and processed goods in 2022.
More than 650 ships carrying agricultural products from Ukraine have reached Asia, Africa, and Europe via the grain corridor.
“Such export results became possible due to the concerted efforts of farmers, traders, international partners and the operation of the “grain corridor.” In this regard, the importance of support from the UN and the Republic of Türkiye is worth admitting,” states the EBA statement.
According to the EBA, logistical bottlenecks impede Ukrainian exports of agricultural products. However, businesses trust and support the grain initiative and are willing to increase transshipment volumes. In particular, the EBA Grain and Oilseed Committee’s data suggests that the number of inspections of ships arriving to load Ukrainian agricultural products dropped sharply to two or three per day in January 2023. Consequently, the EBA emphasizes that vessel layups will increase, and ship owners and exporters of grains will incur substantial costs due to vessel delays.
Therefore, the EBA urges that “in order to avoid a large crowding of vessels, as well as to effectively overcome the food crisis, especially in those countries where people suffer from hunger, it is extremely important not to allow delays in the inspections of such vessels. According to experts’ estimates, at least 25 inspections of vessels should be carried out per day for normal operation.”
Due to the war Russia waged on the territory of Ukraine, millions of tons of agricultural products remain blocked in Ukraine. Thus, the countries that rely heavily on Ukrainian agricultural products are unable to receive the required quantity of grain. Consequently, this circumstance will likely result in global price increases and food inflation.