US President Joe Biden has said temporary grain silos would be built along the western borders of Ukraine to help the country, which was invaded by Russia in late February, export more grain, World Grain reported on 15 June.

Speaking at a Philadelphia union convention on 14 June, Biden said the USA planned to “work closely with our European partners to get 20M tonnes of grain locked in Ukraine out onto the market to help bring down food prices. It can’t get through the Black Sea because it will get blown out of the water.”

Biden’s comments were made against a backdrop of a Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports that includes the placement of sea mines, World Grain wrote, and with much of the old crop remaining in storage, Ukrainian officials have said they are running out of storage for the new grain crop.

Although the temporary grain silos on the country’s western border would be welcome, the amount of grain that could be moved by rail into Western Europe was much lower than the grain shipment capabilities of the ports, the report said.

Moving grain by rail and truck is problematic due to limited trucking capacity and the need to reconfigure railcars at the border to fit a narrower gauge used in other countries.

In an interview with World Grain, Sergey Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Black Sea military administration, said that Ukraine needed help from its allies to end Russia’s domination of the Black Sea.

“Unblocking of the Odessa port is the most important thing to reinvigorate exports,” Bratchuk said.

Ports in Ukraine were partially damaged or destroyed, Bratchuk said, but those that were in partial working condition could still not be used due to the blockade. One of the country’s biggest grain terminals, Nika-Tera, in Mykolaiv, which had capacity to store up to 500,000 tonnes of grain at a time, had also recently been destroyed, he added.

Ukraine is one of the world’s top exporters of wheat, corn, sunflower oil and fertiliser. Since the blockade began, global food prices, which were already rising prior to the invasion, had soared to near-record highs, World Grain wrote.