Ukrainian grain exports arise after the expiration of Black Sea Initiative

Ukraine’s grain exports have risen sharply in recent months, indicating continued strength in its agricultural sector.

Ukraine’s grain exports are up sharply, even though the Black Sea Grain Initiative that used to control trade in the region is no longer in effect. They’re currently shipping around 25 billion tonne miles of grain each month, according to the latest update from Drewry.

Ukraine’s grain exports have doubled since the start of 2024, reaching an average of 4 million tonnes per month in January and February. This is still lower than pre-war levels, but exceeds what was achieved under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Ukraine’s booming grain exports are driving up demand for ships. Around 150 cargo ships are loading grain at Ukrainian ports each month this year, a 13% increase compared to last year. If this keeps up, Ukrainian grain could account for over 1.3% of all global grain shipments by ship in 2024.

With the Black Sea Grain Initiative ending in July 2023, Ukraine quickly set up new ways to export grain. This includes a shipping route along their western Black Sea coast, using smaller Danube River ports, and land routes through Eastern Europe.

Ukraine’s rise in grain exports is helping both Ukrainian farmers and countries that need to import grain. For instance, recent shipments from Odessa are headed to Egypt, a major grain importer on the world stage.

Getting grain to some buyers is still difficult. Attacks in the Red Sea make shipping through the Suez Canal risky, especially for countries in East Africa and Asia. Since Europe is closer, most Ukrainian grain exports are currently going there.

Ukraine needs to keep their grain prices low, especially in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, where they face tough competition. Otherwise, buyers might choose to get grain from elsewhere, even if it means a longer, more expensive trip around Africa. This could hurt Ukraine’s overall profits.

By finding new ways to ship grain and keeping prices competitive, Ukraine shows it’s determined to stay a major player in the global grain market. However, political tensions remain a challenge. How Ukraine navigates these issues will be key to maintaining its recent success in grain exports.

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