Indian Transport & Logistics

Dry bulk exports from Ukraine down 78% in one year

Ukraine’s sea ports were under a blockade until the end of July 2022 when the Black Sea Grain deal was signed

Dry bulk exports from Ukraine down 78% in one year

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim visiting Port of Odesa

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February 24 - one year has passed since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

"During that year, dry bulk exports from Ukraine dropped 77.8 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, causing a decline in global dry bulk volumes. Seaborne exports have been restricted to agricultural goods and even those have been limited,” says Filipe Gouveia, Shipping Analyst, BIMCO.

Ukraine’s sea ports were under a blockade from the start of the conflict until the end of July 2022 when the Black Sea Grain deal was signed. "Since then, agricultural exports were allowed to resume from three ports in the Odesa region which accounted for 72.8 percent of Ukraine’s bulk exports in 2021. The deal is valid until mid-March 2023 and could soon be renegotiated," says the latest update from BIMCO.

“Almost 20 million tonnes of bulk agricultural goods have so far left Ukraine under the deal which has helped cool cereal prices and improve food security in low-income countries. However, grain shipments were still down 43.3 percent YoY between August 2022 and February 2023,” says Gouveia.

Delays in inspections of ships to and from Ukraine have been a point of contention between Russia and Ukraine, the update added. "To reduce inspection delays, Ukraine is considering increasing the minimum size for ships carrying grains from 15,000 to 25,000 DWT. Ukraine has also expressed interest in expanding the deal to include the port of Mykolaiv as well as other commodities such as steel. While such a deal would boost bulk shipments, no agreement has yet been made."

Prior to the war, more than 1/10th of the world’s wheat and maize shipments came from Ukraine. To compensate, other producers stepped up to fill Ukraine’s gap, often by tapping into their inventories. In the current marketing year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that global maize exports will fall 9.8 percent while wheat exports will rise 2.7 percent.

“Ukraine remains key to assuring the global supply of maize and wheat. Without a rebound in Ukraine’s exports, the USDA estimates it could take over four years for global maize exports to return to pre-war levels while global wheat supplies could grow slower than the historical average,” says Gouveia.

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