16 May 2023 10:56

Odessa ports unload two thirds less grain due to "grain corridor" disruptions

MOSCOW. May 16 (Interfax) - Greater Odessa ports have dramatically reduced unloading of freight cars with grain, Ukrainian Railways reported.

Daily unloading has averaged 274 grain cars in May and the figure was 125 cars in the past 24 hours. At this pace, the wait time for unloading is 3.3 days.

Previously, unloading ranged from 700 to 900 cars per day, Ukrainian media reported, citing a statement Ukrainian Railways commercial operations director Valery Tkachev made on Telegram on Monday.

He said the operation of the Black Sea "grain corridor" has essentially been blocked. About 60 vessels are waiting for inspection, but not a single vessel underwent or was registered for inspection last week, and there are no vessels in the inspection zone.

Meanwhile, 902 cars loaded with grain were headed to Greater Odessa ports as of May 15.

Tkachev said that at the Izmail Port the situation remains difficult due to a critical accumulation of freight cars. Daily unloading has averaged 79 cars in May and the wait time is about a month - 31.2 days. Meanwhile, another 2,462 cars with grain are currently headed to Izmail.

The congestion at Izmail is due to the mass rerouting of grain traffic to the port because the "grain corridor" is blocked and there are restrictions on western junctions, as well as to the fact that operators are poorly outfitted, lacking covered storage and heavy duty handling equipment.

The UN, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine signed two documents in Istanbul on July 22, 2022 on the creation of a corridor to ship out grain from three Ukrainian ports - Chernomorsk, Odessa and Yuzhny, as well as to lift barriers to exports of Russian foodstuffs and fertilizers. The arrangement was extended for 120 days in November 2022 and was due to expire on March 18, but another extension was agreed for 60 days.