EU to shore up alternative routes for Ukrainian grain exports

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The European Union (EU) still plans to continue its efforts to create alternative freight routes for Ukrainian grain exports. This is despite the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports under the UN.

The European Union (EU) Commission said this to agency reporters on Thursday.

According to EU officials, although the maritime routes had been reopened, an immediate return to pre-war levels of Ukrainian exports remained challenging, and alternative export routes were still crucial.

EU Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, stressed that there was room for improvement in the alternative routes being worked on.

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He cited a lack of freight wagons, barge operators and storage facilities for Ukrainian produce.

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According to the European Commission, Ukraine was the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil, and the third largest exporter of rapeseed and barley.

The fourth largest exporter of maize and the fifth largest exporter of wheat before the beginning of Ukraine’s invasion by Russian troops in February.

However, hopes were currently pinned on the agreement with Russia enabling a resumption of regular Ukrainian agricultural exports via the Black Sea.

According to EU figures, up to five million tonnes of grain passed through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports each month before the war.

Reaching that level again in the near future was considered highly unlikely, however, with the first ship to leave the port of Odesa under the UN deal carrying just 26,000 tonnes of maize.