25 Jul 2022 16:07

Ukraine readying to resume grain exports from its seaports this week - infrastructure minister

MOSCOW. July 25 (Interfax) - The Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry expects vessels to begin leaving Ukrainian ports this week under the agreement signed in Istanbul on July 22 to restart exports of grain and related food products by sea, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said at a press conference in Kyiv on Monday.

"The coordination center's internal technical documents will be drawn up in Istanbul within the next two days, and it [the center] is expected to start operating as soon as July 27," the Ukrainian media quoted Kubrakov as saying at the press conference.

The coordination center will oversee and coordinate the functioning of the humanitarian corridor, but its functions do not apply to Ukraine's territorial waters, he said.

"Only the Ukrainian authorities have the power to administrate the territorial waters of Ukraine and to coordinate all processes there," the minister said.

Ukraine will be able to earn an extra $1 billion or so once its seaports are reopened, Kubrakov said.

Ukraine may export three million tonnes of agricultural products per month, the Infrastructure Ministry said, while Ukraine's Agrarian Policy Minister Mykola Solskiy believes that this figure could be even higher.

The minister also said that mine clearance will be conducted only within the passage for vessels carrying grain, and all such convoys will be escorted by rescue vessels of the Infrastructure Ministry.

Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuriy Vaskov, in turn, said that the first Ukrainian grain exports will start through the Chernomorsk merchant seaport in the Odesa region.

"We believe that within the next 24 hours we will be ready to begin working on resuming agricultural products export from our ports. The first such port will be the Chernomorsk port. It will be followed by the Odesa port and the Pivdennyi port," the Ukrainian media quoted Vaskov as saying at a press briefing in Kyiv on Monday.

The Infrastructure Ministry will be technically ready within the next two weeks to restart export from all terminals of the aforementioned three seaports of Ukraine, he said.

The first vessels carrying grain are expected to depart as soon as this week, Vaskov said.

The first successful passage of vessels with grain via the corridor should result in a reduction of insurance rates, he said.

"As soon as the first vessels successfully move [along this route], the market will respond to it and insurance tariffs will decrease. This is what we expect working in parallel with the International Maritime Organization (IMO] and the relevant insurance committee regarding support for vessel owners who plan their vessels' entry into Ukrainian ports," Vaskov said.

Nearly 100 foreign vessels have already confirmed their readiness to pass through this grain corridor, he said.

"We have held negotiations with the UN secretary general and with the IMO secretary general regarding a request to revise the security criteria and the level of risks that exist today in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. They have pledged support in this issue, because it directly impacts insurance premiums and insurance rates," Vaskov said.