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First Ukrainian wheat shipments expected next week: UN

#Ukrainian #wheat #shipments #expected #week

The first war wheat from Ukraine is due to be shipped next week under a landmark deal also signed by Russia to deal with the global food crisis, a senior UN official said on Wednesday.

The first 12 ships to leave the three Black Sea ports designated by the deal transported 370,000 tons of corn and food, according to Frederick Kenney, the United Nations interim coordinator at the joint center in Istanbul, which oversees the deal.

But that should change once the ships that docked in Ukraine when the Russians raided their neighbors in February leave their ports and new ones arrive to pick up wheat accumulated with this year’s harvest, Kenney told reporters.

“We’re dealing with three ports that were essentially frozen in time,” Kenney said.

“The silos were full of corn and the ships that were there were loaded with corn,” he said.

“It’s imperative to get these ships out in order to get new ships in…that can deal with the food crisis.”

The agreement, signed by the warring factions and representatives of the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul last month, has been hailed as a major opportunity to deal with the global food crisis caused by the war.

But Ukraine first had to deal with the corn – much of it used for animal feed – that was contracted with global customers at the time of the Russian invasion.

“We’re actually switching to wheat,” Kenney said.

“We released the first ship bound for Ukraine through the Bosphorus,” he said. “That should happen sometime next week.”

– First ship finally docks –

The deal suffered an early setback when the first ship to leave Ukraine – the Sierra Leonean flagged ship Razoni – failed to reach its destination in Lebanon due to a contractual dispute.

Ukrainian officials said the five-month delay in delivery prompted the Lebanese buyer to cancel the deal once the ship was already at sea.

The Razoni docked in Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Mersin on Wednesday after it was announced her corn had found a new buyer.

The “cargo is being sold… It will be (unloaded) in Mersin,” Ahmed al-Fares, ship’s agent at the Ashram Maritime Agency, told the Middle East Eye news site.

Kenney stressed that his Istanbul center did not interfere in contract disputes and was focused on its mission to safely navigate ships through a designated corridor that cuts through mine-infested waters of the Black Sea.

The ships are controlled when entering and leaving the Bosphorus.

“We are seeing steady progress in the number of ships coming in and out,” he said. “We started well.”

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