Black Sea Grain Export: Turkey Leads by 205-Grain Vessels


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In response to Russia’s maritime blockade on Ukrainian ports at Black Sea, the EU mobilized in May 2022 the so-called “solidarity lanes.” The aim was to facilitate the export of Ukraine’s Grain to compensate as much as possible for the loss of sea routes. In practice, it consisted of the search for other ways to export Ukraine’s Grain via alternative land routes and EU ports and the set-up of better transport connections, faster customs operation, and new storage on EU territory. Since its first exports, the solidarity lanes have been able to unblock around 29 million metric tons of Grain to be exported to the EU by road, rail, or vessels using the Danube delta.

In the framework of the solidarity lanes, the EU market has opened to Ukrainian exports, resulting in an unprecedented flow of Ukrainian products to eastern Europe. This sudden and significant influx has created tension locally, as large quantities of Grain flown in areas with limited storage capacities (compared to the new needs) and high logistic challenges to be overcome to export them while at the same time storing and transporting local productions. 

Confronted with this issue that affects the Member States differently in the single market, and having assessed the pressure on local prices from these tensions in the logistical chains from the increased transit of products from Ukraine, the Commission has proposed on 20 March an aid package of €56,3 million for farmers in the most affected countries by a drop of local market prices (Poland, Bulgaria, Romania). The payment is expected by 30 September 2023. 

From its launch to 15 March 2023, the Black Sea Grain Initiative has delivered 927 vessels. Altogether, 45 countries received over 24 million metric tons of Grain and foodstuffs through this channel. For vessel numbers, Turkey led others with 205 vessels for 2.7 million tons of Grain import, followed by Spain (150 vessels with 4.3 million tons), China (105 vessels with 5.4 million tons), Italy (99 vessels with 1.8 million tons) and the Netherlands (39 vessels with 1.5 million tons). The following countries were Egypt, Greece, Tunisia, Libya, Israel, etc. In terms of Grain import volumes, the EU dominated with 40%, followed by China (22%), Turkey (11%), and other countries (27%). 

Many third countries have a considerable reliance on Ukrainian Grain. Indeed, the countries that have been found to have the highest dependency on Ukrainian and Russian Wheat imports, and therefore to be the most vulnerable to these market disruptions, are Somalia (100%), Benin (100%), Laos (94%), Egypt (82%), Sudan (75%), DR Congo (69%), Senegal (66%) and Tanzania (64%). Ukraine also accounted for half of the supply of the United Nations World Food Program before the war.

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Black Sea Grain Export Structure

The share of Grain exported in the framework of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (mid-March 2023) is as follows: Corn (49%), Wheat (27%), Sunflower Oil (5%), Sunflower Meal (5%), and others (15%). Total cargo volume hit 26.6 million tons of Grain. Corn has always been usually mainly exported to China and the EU (for example, it represented 62% of the corn exported shares in 2021 (USDA)). This explains the weight of these two blocs in the total export share. 

Wheat constitutes a quarter of the exported volume. It is usually exported to developing countries (notably Egypt, Indonesia, and Bangladesh). Since the launching of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, two-thirds of the Wheat was destined for developing countries, for which it is the most important and most needed food staple, representing 18.1% of the total shipments of the Black Sea Grains Initiative. According to AgFlow data, Ukraine shipped 1.3 million tons of Wheat in February. The largest markets were Turkey (0.4 million tons), Spain (0.2 million tons), Sri Lanka (0.1 million tons), and Kenya (80,500 tons.)  

Other sources: FARM EUROPE

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