Business Calls on the Black Sea Grain Initiative Parties – UN and Turkey – to Facilitate its Stable Operation, Prolongation and Expansion and Ensure Free Commercial Navigation in the Black Sea Region

In the event that the Russian Federation does not agree to the unblocking of shipping, its ships should be subject to the same checks as the Ukrainian ones. This is stated in a statement on the website of the European Business Association.

The business community, united by European Business Association, AmCham Ukraine, and Association “Ukrainian Agribusiness Club”, calls on the Black Sea Grain Initiative parties – United Nations (UN) and Turkey – to facilitate the stable operation, prolongation, and expansion of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (the Initiative) and ensure free commercial navigation in the Black Sea Region.

Russian inspectors at the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) artificially block the full-scale operation of the Initiative and violate free navigation in the Black Sea. Inter alia, the Russian side consistently delays the inspection of vessels that move via Bosphorus to/from Ukrainian ports. As of now, 140 vessels are waiting to be inspected by the JCC in the Bosphorus, and Ukrainian ports working only at 30% of their capacity. At the same time, the movement of Russian vessels in the Black Sea is not limited by regular inspection, while the number of transported cargos is about 250 mln t by shipping through the Azov Sea and the Black Sea in 2022. Therefore, the business is concerned about the situation that has developed in recent months with delays in the operation of the grain corridors through the Black Sea.

International food supply chains and global food security, including world food prices and hunger rates, are at significant risk again, due to the artificial reduction of Ukrainian grain and oilseeds export volumes by the Russian side. If the Initiative operated smoothly and in its full capacity, the total amount of grain export volumes could be 30-40% higher. Approximately 10 mln t of agricultural products have not been shipped to international markets, including cargos to the African continent and countries with high hunger rates, such as Ethiopia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and others. There are more than 25 mln t of Ukrainian grains expected for export in the current marketing year.

To ensure free navigation in the Black Sea Region and unblock the full-scale operation of the Initiative business community calls on the UN and Turkey to:

∙ Take measures to ensure the stable and timely operation of inspectors/commission representatives operating under the JCC to speed up the movement of vessels with Ukrainian grain and to eliminate the queues;

∙ Ensure free commercial navigation in the Black Sea for all parties or introduce inspections for all Russian vessels shipping in the Black Sea by establishing equal conditions for Ukrainian and Russian export;

∙ Support the extension/prolongation of the Initiative for at least one year with automatic prolongation for the same periods unless a party thereto notifies the other of intent to terminate or modify the Initiative and provides respective official communication;

∙ Include the Mykolaiv Seaport, as well as other ports and terminals located in the Dniprovsko-Buzkyi channel, Olbia specialized seaport to the Initiative, to increase the throughput capacity for grain export.

We express gratitude to the UN and the Government of Turkey for their support of the Initiative operation. We are also grateful to the Office of the President of Ukraine, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, the Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority for all efforts related to the continuous export of Ukrainian grain and oilseeds in the framework of the Initiative.

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