The first shipment of Ukrainian corn exported through the Black Sea since the Russian invasion sailed from a Romanian port on Friday, according to the port operator, evading a Russian naval blockade that nearly halted Ukrainian grain exports.
Viorel Banet, director of Comfix SA, which operates the port, said the 71,000-ton cargo of Ukrainian corn left the port of Constanta on a bulk tanker early Friday.
Ukraine was one of the world’s largest grain exporters before the Russian invasion. It was the fourth largest exporter of corn, after the United States, Brazil and Argentina, as well as a major exporter of wheat, according to the USDA.
But the invasion of Russia Ukraine destroyed farms and choked the flow of agricultural commodities that were leaving their ports on the Black Sea, Help raise grain prices In addition to concerns about global food security.
With grain accumulating in silos within the country, traders, farmers, and the Ukrainian government are exploring alternative export routes.
Constanta, a Black Sea port less than 100 miles from Ukraine and connected to Ukraine via the Danube, has proven to be one such route. Other Polish ports on the Baltic Sea are under study.
The sudden redirection of Ukraine’s grain exports caused logistical problems. Ukraine’s railway infrastructure is struggling to adapt, especially since its Soviet-era tracks are a different scale to those in neighboring countries.
Panaite said Friday’s shipment of corn was the first to be successfully exported from Ukraine via the Black Sea since the war began. He said the constant flow of Ukrainian grain was making its way on barges down the Danube to Constanta.
“We put a lot of effort into creating this flow of goods because we all feel here that the Ukrainian people need this help,” he said.