First "Grain From Ukraine" Charity Cargo Arrives in Djibouti

Nord Vind
The bulker Nord Vind arrives in Djibouti with the first Grain From Ukraine cargo (Dmytro Kuleba)

Published Dec 5, 2022 2:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Ukrainian government's "Grain from Ukraine" charity program has delivered its first cargo of wheat for the high-need Ethiopian market. 

The bulker Nord Vind arrived at the port of Doraleh, Djibouti on Saturday carrying 25,000 tonnes of much-needed wheat. Ethiopia is land-locked and relies on Djibouti for much of its seaborne transport.

Nord Vind's cargo was purchased by international donors and sourced from small- and medium-sized Ukrainian farmers. It will go towards feeding populations that are in need of sustenance due to ongoing war and drought in Ethiopia. 

The UN World Food Programme is coordinating the program in cooperation with the offices of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. More than 30 nations and organizations have agreed to support the project and have committed to a budget of more than $180 million. 

Nine more vessels carrying about 340,000 tonnes of charitable food aid left the port of Odesa over the weekend, and they will deliver Ukrainian grain to needy populations in Somalia and Sudan, according to Ukraine's interior ministries.

Ukraine is a top exporter of wheat and corn, and it is a longtime supplier of grain to food-aid programs. The UN World Food Programme has sponsored several cargoes for the developing world since Ukraine's Black Sea grain ports reopened in August, including shipments for Ethiopia and Somalia.

All of the food shipments are conducted under the auspices of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a ceasefire deal that partially lifted the Russian naval blockade on Ukraine's biggest ports at the end of July. The main commercial buyers for these Ukrainian grain cargoes have been Spain, China, Italy and Turkey, but cargoes have also been shipped to dozens of nations in the developing world. To date, nearly 13 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain have departed via the corridor. 

The deal also encourages private parties to buy grain and fertilizer from Russia, a highly-sanctioned market where Western traders are wary of reputational and legal risks. Russian companies recently donated 260,000 tonnes of fertilizer for developing markets as a gesture of goodwill.