A Ukrainian navy spokesperson said on Wednesday October 4th that 12 more cargo vessels were ready to enter the Ukrainian shipping corridor on their way to Ukrainian ports. “In total to enter the new corridor, we have 12, and 10 to leave. That is as of now,” Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk told an online media briefing on Wednesday.
Pletenchuk did not say when the vessels were expected to sail.
He said Ukraine’s defence forces were doing everything to ensure the safety of civilian ships in their territorial waters and that they were proceeding into the waters of Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, all of which were NATO member countries.
At least seven new ships were reported to have entered Ukrainian waters in the past week. They were set to ship at least 127,000 tons of Ukrainian-origin grain to foreign countries, local officials and lawmakers said.
However, in the grand scheme of things, that would amount to only 1.5m tonnes by the end of the year, even if such a convoy left twice a week. That is unlikely to be a feasible exercise week in week out. Ukraine is expected to harvest 79m tonness of grain and oilseed in 2023, with 2023/24 exportable surplus totals of about 50m tonnes.
Ukrainian grain exports have declined by 24% so far in the 2023/24 July-June season. The Ukrainian agriculture ministry’s data showed on Wednesday that grain exports had fallen to 6.82m tonnes, from 8.99m tonnes in the same period of 2022/23.
The data also showed that 153,000 tons of grain were exported in the first three days of October 2023, compared with 297,000 tons a year ago.
Of the 2.4m tonnes exported from Ukraine by water in September, 99% was covered by Danube ports, brokers told Reuters.