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Nearly 33m tons of grain transported by over 1,000 ships through Black Sea grain corridor

July 17, 2023 at 4:28 pm

“Mustafa Necati” named grain-loaded ship, departed from Chernomorsk Port, anchors off entrance of the Black Sea entrance of Bosphorus Strait as part of safe shipment of grain from Ukrainian Ports agreement in Istanbul, Turkiye on August 09, 2022 [Ali Atmaca – Anadolu Agency]

Nearly 33 million tons of grain have, so far, been transported by over 1,000 ships as part of the Black Sea grain corridor deal, which Turkiye helped broker last year in an effort to eliminate the risk of a food crisis amid the Russia-Ukraine war, Anadolu Agency reports.

According to information compiled by an Anadolu correspondent, since the first ship’s departure on 1 August, 2022, more than 1,000 ships have transported nearly 33 million tons of grain through the grain corridor.

The grain transported through the corridor was distributed as follows: 40 per cent to Europe, 30 per cent to Asia, 13 per cent to Turkiye, 12 per cent to Africa and 5 per cent to the Middle East.

In a diplomatic effort by Turkiye to resolve the food crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, a “Joint Coordination Center” was established in Istanbul in coordination with the United Nations (UN) in July last year. The safe transfer of grain products began to be monitored from this Centre. The first ship loaded with grain departed from the port city of Odessa on 1 August last year.

The Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship named “Razoni”, which was the first ship to leave Ukrainian ports within the scope of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, set sail for the Lebanese port of Tripoli with 26,000 tons of corn.

READ: UN chief sends letter to Putin in effort to extend grain deal as deadline looms

Four days after “Razoni”, the Panama-flagged “Navistar” set sail for Ireland, the Malta-flagged “Rojen” headed to Italy, and the Turkish-flagged “Polarnet” departed from Odessa and Chornomorsk ports to transport 60,000 tons of grain.

Subsequently, ships named “Mustafa Necati”, “Star Helena”, “Glory”, “Riva Wind”, “Sacura”, “Arizona”, “Ocean Lion”, “Rahmi Yagci” and “Sormovskiy 121” set sail for their destinations.

The majority of these ships reached ports in Turkiye, such as Tekirdag, Iskenderun and Izmir.

Within two weeks after the departure of “Razoni”, the number of ships leaving Ukrainian ports reached 25, with the amount of grain transported by the cargo ships and carriers exceeding 800,000 tons.

The grain deal included not only the departure of ships from Ukrainian ports but also the shipment of grain to Ukrainian ports from Istanbul.

The Barbados-flagged “Fulmar S” became the first ship to be controlled in the Bosporus Strait in Istanbul before delivering 12,000 tons of corn from Chornomorsk Port to Izmir.

Although grain shipments from the corridor continued, Russia announced its suspension of the deal in October following attacks on the Russian Black Sea Fleet at the port of Sevastopol.

Turkiye acted to prevent the further deepening of the crisis, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holding phone conversations with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, regarding the issue.

Then-Turkish National Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, also worked to keep the grain corridor open through contacts with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, after which traffic through the corridor resumed.

The grain deal has been extended three times since it was first signed for a period of 120 days. The deal was first extended in November 2022 and then in March 2023.

The most recent extension was declared by Erdogan in May, who declared the deal was extended for another two months.

With the two-month extension ending Monday, the grain corridor will continue its operations unless there is an objection from any of the involved parties, as stipulated in the agreement.​​​​​​​

READ: Germany urges Russia to extend Black Sea grain deal