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Ukraine has maintained grain shipments despite a range of logistical problems, Ukrainian Grain Association president Nikolay Gorbachov said in a 13 November World Grain report.

Ukraine had continued to export grain by alternatives routes such as the new ‘humanitarian’ grain corridor opened after Russia’s 17 July withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) which had allowed safe passage of vessels carrying grain and oilseeds, he said.

Referring to Ukrainian exports generally, Gorbachov, who spoke to World Grain at the end of October, said: “I hope we will achieve in this month the same as we had in the previous month — about 3.5M tonnes. Additionally, we continue to load through the Black Sea and Odessa ports and I hope this month, we will achieve about 1.5M tonnes there.”

With the expansion of the new sea route, Gorbachov estimated that Ukraine would have the potential to ship up to 3M tonnes/month, “depending on the military situation”.

Ukraine also exports through the European Union, but the “solidarity lanes” organised by the 27 member states had created friction with farmers’ groups in some of the EU countries nearest to Ukraine, notably Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania who which claimed Ukrainian shipments had distorted their local market, the report said.

According to a 24 October report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Ukraine’s exports of all grains would total around 37M tonnes in the 2023/24 marketing year.

“Ukraine is actively working on boosting its export and trans-shipment capacities, including attempting to boost the Port of Constantza trans-shipping capabilities, which would subsequently allow increased export traffic down the Danube River and out the Black Sea, re-routing some grain traffic to Lithuanian ports and ships resuming the use of Ukraine’s Black Sea Ports beginning in September and October 2023,” the USDA said.

Meanwhile, the number of rail wagons heading to the ports of Ukraine’s Odessa region continued to rise due to the successful operation of the alternative Black Sea exports corridor, a senior railways official was quoted as saying in a Reuters report on 10 November.

Valeriy Tkachov, deputy director of the commercial department at Ukrainian Railways, said on Facebook that the number of grain wagons heading to Odessa ports increased by more than 26% to 5,341 from 4,227 in the week of the report.

In the previous week, Tkachov said the number of wagons had increased by around 50% and, at the time of the Reuters report, up to 970 wagons/day were being unloaded at the ports’ silos.

Against this backdrop, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told Reuters NEXT on 8 November that it would be difficult to revive the BSGI as there would have to be an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to allow freedom of navigation for each other.

Ukraine’s government expected a grain and oilseeds harvest of 79M tonnes in 2023, with a 2023/24 exportable surplus of about 50M tonnes, Reuters wrote.