12 vessels authorized to depart Ukrainian ports for grain export: UN official
Published: Aug 11, 2022 09:19 PM
Under the Black Sea Initiative, 12 vessels have been authorized to depart the Ukrainian ports, a United Nations official coordinating the grain export deal said Wednesday.

These ships contain "over 370,000 metric tons of grain and other food stocks," Frederick Kenney, interim coordinator for the UN at the Joint Coordination Center for the Black Sea Initiative, told a regular press briefing held at the UN headquarters in New York via video link from Istanbul, Turkey.

The Ukraine grain export deal is off with a very good start, said Kenney, noting that a big "uptick" in applications for transit is expected.

"We still have much work ahead of us to ensure that the implementation of the initiative translates into real results to address food insecurity around the globe and to stabilize global food markets," he said.

On July 22, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal with Turkey and the UN to allow food and fertilizer exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea. 

Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN agreed transit procedures on Monday for the July deal. The procedures include a 10-nautical-mile (18.5-kilometer) protection zone for ships. 

"The goal of getting between 2 and 5 [million] metric tons is achievable," Kenney said, referring to monthly exports.

The aim of the deal is to help ease a global food crisis that the UN says was worsened by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and has pushed tens of millions more people into hunger. Ukraine and Russia are both major wheat exporters.

Kenney said the current priority was to free up pier space at the three ports covered by the deal - Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny - so new ships could come in and load cargo. There have been no wheat shipments yet with departing vessels so far carrying corn, soybeans and sunflower oil and meal.

Ukraine has some 20 million tons of grain left over from 2021's crop and 2022's wheat harvest, which is estimated to be a further 20 million tons.