Ukraine Reaches New Export Milestones with Support of Bulk Shippers

Ukraine Black Sea exports
Ukraine marked a new milestone in its export program on the Black Sea (Oleksandr Kubrakov)

Published Jan 9, 2024 8:08 PM by The Maritime Executive


Ukraine is marking a new milestone in its ongoing export programs with the now six-month-old corridor established along the Black Sea and support for the West to provide insurance for vessels operating out of the Black Sea ports. Despite renewed attacks by Russian forces on the port infrastructure especially in the area around Odesa, and the periodic reports of mine incidents, Ukraine reports it has reached 15 million metric tons of cargo moved through its Black Sea shipping corridor. 

The focus remains on foodstuffs and ag products. Two-thirds of the exports have been agroproducts. During the agreement brokered by the UN and Turkey, Ukraine was only permitted to export ag products. However, since going it alone they have also been able to export 5 million tons of additional material. This includes steel and coil exports.

Vice Prime Minister for the Restoration of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov highlights that they have been able to build broad support from within elements of the shipping community. He wrote on X that, “During the five months, 469 new vessels entered the Black Sea ports for loading. Currently, 39 vessels are loaded in the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdenny.”

A further 83 vessels reportedly have also registered for arrival. Kubrakov reports that will be able to export an additional 2.4 million tons of cargo.

While the exports are providing a vital lifeline for Ukraine’s economy, they are far below pre-war levels. Reports are that Ukraine despite Russian attacks destroying portions of the crop in storage has a total of 50 million tons of exportable grain. Including the final days of the Black Sea Agreement and now the independent effort, Ukraine exported just over 19 million tons in the second half of 2023.

While reopening the Black Sea ports was a vital step, efforts have also expanded exports from along the Danube and various overland and inland routes. 

The Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority reports that they achieved new records at the Danube ports in 2023. Head of the authority, Yuriy Lytvyn told the Ukrainian media that over 29 million tons of cargo passed through the Danube ports in 2023, an almost six-fold increase to pre-war levels. Just over 13,000 vessels arrived at the Danube ports in 2023 up from 8,944 ships in 2022.

Plans for 2024 call for launching further investments to enhance the operations on the Danube. The authority reports it plans to implement 15 investment projects for the two main ports on the river.