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The success of Ukraine’s new Black Sea export corridor has led to a sharp increase in the number of rail wagons heading to ports in the Odessa region, a senior railways official was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Valeriy Tkachov, deputy director of the commercial department at Ukrainian Railways, said on Facebook that during the week of the 30 October report, the number of grain wagons heading to Odessa ports increased by more than 50% from 2,676 to 4,032.

Ukraine launched the “humanitarian corridor” in August for ships heading for African and Asian markets in a bid to circumvent a de facto blockade in the Black Sea after Russia quit the Black Sea Grain Initiative that had guaranteed Kyiv’s seaborne exports during the war, the report said.

A senior agricultural official was also quoted as saying that the new route - which runs along Ukraine’s southwest Black Sea coast into Romanian territorial waters and onwards to Turkey - would also be used for grain shipments.

More than 700,000 tonnes of grain have left Ukrainian ports via the new route since August, Reuters wrote.

Prior to Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Ukraine had shipped up to 6M tonnes/month of grain from its Black Sea ports, the report said.

In the week before the report, Ukraine’s first deputy farm minister was quoted as saying grain shipments through the new corridor could exceed 1M tonnes in October.

However, total grain exports fell by about 50% in October due to logistics difficulties, according to ministry data on 30 October.

Ukrainian officials said more than 50 cargo vessels had entered the corridor since its launch in August.

The Ukrainian government said it expected a grain and oilseeds harvest of 79M tonnes in 2023, with a 2023/24 exportable surplus of about 50M tonnes.

The export corridor had been temporarily suspended in October due to military risks but operations resumed on 27 October, AgriCensus reported on the same day.