The first grain shipment to Africa from Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion has begun its journey.
Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry has confirmed that the cargo ship will carry more than 23,000 tonnes of wheat which it says “aims to solve hunger in East Africa”.
The Brave Commander, which sails under the Lebanese flag, arrived in the seaport of Pivdennyi near Odessa in Ukraine to be loaded on Friday August 12, before setting sail today (Tuesday August 16) for Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
The grain will then be transported to Ethiopia.
It is estimated that the trip will take about a fortnight, according to Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.
The vessel was chartered under the United Nations (UN) World Food Program (WFP).
The Brave Commander is among 17 ships that have left Ukrainian ports in recent weeks, carrying almost half a million tonnes of agricultural products, including corn, sunflower oil and flour.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative follows an agreement between Ukraine and Russia to allow shipments of agricultural products from Ukraine to resume through Black Sea ports from August 1.
The agreement signed in July follows months of intensive talks brokered by the UN and Turkey.
Ukraine had been unable to export grain by cargo ship since February 24, due to a blockade in the Black Sea by Russian forces.
Kubrakov previously said that “the next step is to ensure the capacity of Ukrainian ports to handle more than 100 ships/month”.
The first ship to leave Ukraine under the deal, the Razoni, was supposed to deliver more than 26,000 tonnes of maize to Lebanon, but the buyer refused the shipment due to delayed delivery terms .
The ship then docked in Turkey; his current location is currently unconfirmed, but media reports have suggested he was heading for Syria.
Ukraine exported three million tons of agricultural products in July, according to the country’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food.
2.66 million tonnes of cereals, oilseeds and derived products, excluding rapeseed, were exported, ie 492,700 t, or 22.7% more than in June.
Corn continues to dominate exports of agricultural products, its supply in July representing about 41% of total exports.