Ukraine to Send Grain via Rail as Russia Ends Black Sea Deal
Ukraine's government is actively engaged in a plan to transport grain supplies to Europe via train, following Russia's recent termination of the Black Sea deal. Dmytro Senik, Ukraine's ambassador to the UAE, revealed that shipments would be unloaded onto vessels on the Danube River, allowing for global shipment.
Ukraine Seeks Alternative Routes for Grain Exports to Europe
The collapse of the Black Sea deal, which facilitated the passage of over 33 million tonnes of grain and food, will undoubtedly reignite the food crisis, particularly affecting the Middle East and Africa, where heavy reliance on Ukrainian produce is prevalent.
Ukraine's Efforts to Ensure Global Food Security Amidst Russian Sanctions
Dmytro Senik, Ukraine's ambassador to the UAE, emphasized the significance of the Black Sea grain initiative as a vital lifeline for global food security. Despite the hardships caused by the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian government is actively exploring various options to secure food supplies. Through collaboration between the government and private sector, alternative routes are being developed, with a focus on increasing the capacity of Danube River ports. Senik stressed Ukraine's unwavering commitment to contributing as a reliable partner in ensuring global food security.
Expanding Port Capacity and Seeking Rail Transport Solutions
To address the challenges posed by the collapse of the Black Sea deal, Ukraine is concentrating efforts on expanding operations and terminals along the Danube River. However, this endeavor requires time, resources, and increased costs. Although three Danube ports are already operating at full capacity and have handled 12 million tonnes of cargo in the first five months of the year, their capacity for grain is not comparable to the Black Sea ports. Simultaneously, Ukraine is collaborating with neighboring Poland and Romania to explore rail transport options, allowing for the shipment of grain to European Union countries.
Overcoming Obstacles and Establishing Insurance Fund for Shipments
The transportation of grain through rail cargo presents its own set of challenges due to the discrepancy in track width between Ukraine and its EU neighbors. Delays occur at the border, where wagons must be unloaded or have their wheels changed. In response, the Ukrainian government has established a special insurance fund of approximately $547 million to compensate companies whose ships would arrive at Ukraine's Black Sea ports if Russia exited the grain deal. The fund has already attracted interest from companies, providing a safety net in case of missile attacks or damages to commercial vessels.
Ukraine's Vital Role in Global Food Exports and Addressing Hunger Crisis
Ukraine stands as one of the world's major exporters of essential food commodities such as sunflower, maize, wheat, and barley. The Russian invasion in February 2022 and subsequent naval blockades severely disrupted global food supplies, leading to a significant increase in food prices. The United Nations has highlighted the dire situation, with over 40 million people in 38 nations facing "emergency levels of hunger." Recognizing the urgency, President Sheikh Mohamed of the UAE has been actively involved in efforts to keep the grain supply route open. Ukraine remains committed to working with countries in the Gulf and the Middle East to ensure the export of food commodities, understanding the critical role they play in supporting the well-being and social stability of nations in the Global South.