Espreso. Global

Baltic sea ports can handle 10 million tons of Ukrainian grain annually – Lithuanian president 

7 September, 2023 Thursday

Lithuania's leader, Gitanas Nauseda, says that the Baltic Sea ports could handle around 10 million tons of Ukrainian grain annually

Delfi reported the information, citing Nauseda's speech following the Three Seas Initiative Business Forum in Bucharest.

He stated that Ukraine can't export as much grain through the Baltic ports and Poland as it can through its primary transit routes. However, if this alternative Baltic Sea route is well-developed, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia can significantly contribute to Ukraine's grain export efforts.

"Yes, we can't compete with Ukraine's main grain export routes, but based on our calculations and if certain requirements are met, we believe that Ukrainian grain transit through the Baltic ports of Poland and the Baltic countries could reach 10 million tons annually. This would be a crucial part, vital support," emphasized the Lithuanian president.

Furthermore, the Lithuanian president stressed that the European Union should make every effort to ensure that Ukrainian grain can easily access global markets.

Transit of Ukrainian grain through the EU

On February 2, Polish farmers blocked border checkpoints with Ukraine. They were upset because the unregulated influx of Ukrainian grain into Poland had led to a drop in their product prices. These farmers argue that Ukrainian grain should only be transported through Poland to reach ports, but it ends up in the Polish market. Protests at the border between Ukraine and Poland resumed on February 16 and 17.

On April 7, it was announced that Ukraine had agreed to halt grain exports to Poland.

Earlier, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland independently decided to ban imports of agricultural products from Ukraine due to the significant impact on domestic market prices, which caused dissatisfaction among local farmers.

On April 21, Poland announced the resumption of Ukrainian agricultural product transit through the country to European ports. Ukrzaliznytsia, Ukraine’s railway company, also resumed transit through Poland on April 24, with a particular focus on grains and corn.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed that an agreement had been reached with Brussels on the transit of Ukrainian agricultural imports.

At the end of April, the European Commission reached a preliminary agreement with Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia regarding the import restrictions on Ukrainian agri-food products.

Officially, Kyiv protested to Poland and the European Union, considering the restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural imports as contrary to the Association Agreement.

On May 2, the European Commission implemented temporary precautionary measures concerning the import of specific agricultural goods from Ukraine into five EU countries.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, stressed the critical importance of restoring transport links through the Black Sea to ensure food supply to vulnerable countries worldwide and to maintain the ability to export Ukrainian goods.

On July 28, Romania's Minister of Foreign Affairs highlighted her country's significant role in facilitating the transit of Ukrainian grain and agricultural products, with nearly 20 million tons already passing through Romania.

On August 4, Poland presented its investment calculations to the EU for increasing the export of Ukrainian agricultural products across the Polish-Ukrainian border to global markets.

On August 18, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal visited Bucharest, signing a joint intergovernmental statement with his Romanian counterpart to strengthen cooperation in the transit of Ukrainian goods.

Also on August 18, Moldovan President Maya Sandu expressed support for Ukraine in its struggle against Russia and offered assistance in grain transit, expressing gratitude for the peace efforts.

Here's what we know about the "grain corridor"

On 17 July, Russia announced the termination of the grain deal. In response, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that it was necessary to continue using the grain corridor even despite Russia's withdrawal from the agreement.

On July 30, despite the completion of the grain deal, three civilian cargo ships of foreign origin passed the Russian blockade in the Black Sea and anchored in one of Ukraine's grain ports in the Danube Delta.

On August 4, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said that Ukraine would send ships with its own grain to wherever it deems necessary and would not ask anyone for permission.

On August 10, the Ukrainian Navy announced a temporary humanitarian corridor for merchant ships sailing to and from Ukrainian ports. These routes will be used primarily to allow civilian vessels that have been stranded in the Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Pivdennyi since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion to leave.

On August 12, Ukraine opened registration of merchant ships and their owners who are ready to use temporary routes to Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.

On August 16, the first vessel left the port of Odesa after Russia announced that it will terminate the grain deal on July 16, 2023.

On August 18, it became known that Russia, Turkey, and Qatar were preparing a new grain deal without Ukraine.

Turkey is working to resume exports of agricultural products from Ukraine, as the termination of the grain deal could have global consequences, as the price of grain has already risen by 15% globally.

Ihor Semyvolos suggested that the outcome of the Erdogan-Putin meeting could involve Russia returning to the "grain deal."

On August 18, it was reported that Russia, Turkey, and Qatar were allegedly working on a new grain agreement without Ukraine.

By August 20, Turkey had been actively striving to reinstate the export of agricultural products from Ukraine, as the termination of the "grain deal" had global consequences, leading to a 15% increase in grain prices worldwide.

On August 29, Erdogan's party confirmed his meeting with Putin in Sochi.

On August 31, ahead of the Erdogan-Putin meeting, the foreign affairs ministers of Turkey and Russia met in Moscow to discuss the "grain agreement" and peace in Ukraine.

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