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Infrastructure Minister denies suspension of Ukrainian Black Sea corridor

by Dominic Culverwell October 26, 2023 10:38 PM 2 min read
The bulk carriers Beaver, Ability and DSM arrived at the ports of Greater Odesa through the temporary corridor on Oct. 5, 2023. (Yulii Zozulia / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov denied reports that Ukraine’s temporary grain corridor in the Black Sea had stopped operations on Oct. 26.

“The information regarding the cancellation or unscheduled stoppage of the temporary Ukrainian corridor for the movement of civilian vessels from and to the ports of the Big Odesa (Oblast) is false,” the minister wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

“All available routes established by the Ukrainian Navy are valid and being used by civilian vessels.”

Earlier on Oct. 26, the Barva Invest consultancy firm, specializing in the Ukrainian grain and oilseeds market, reported that the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA) announced the suspension of the corridor effective from Oct. 26 due to “increased Russian aviation activity.”

Vessels have been using the Ukrainian corridor since Sept. 16 following the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July after Russia pulled out.

The corridor has been showing signs of success even without Russia’s agreement. Thirty-three ships have exported 1.3 million metric tons of agricultural products and other goods since its inception, Kubrakov noted.

Currently, 23 ships are loading at the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi.

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So far the temporary corridor has not reached the levels of the grain initiative but Deputy Head of the Agrarian Council Denys Marchuk said it could eventually export 2-2.5 million tons per month.

Rather than sailing directly to the Bosphorus Strait through international waters, ships hug the coastlines of Ukraine and NATO members Romania and Bulgaria with assistance from the Ukrainian navy.

However, the threat from Russia remains and many ship owners are hesitant to travel the route.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week in a televised address that Russian jets armed with Kinzhal ballistic missiles will permanently patrol the Black Sea.

Currently, the Danube River ports see the highest throughput, exporting 2.3 million metric tons last month, according to Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi.

The minister said that Ukraine needs to export 6 million tons per month as grain piles up in the country amid export issues.

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