The first shipment of grain to Africa from Ukraine since the Russian invasion began has embarked on its journey.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure confirmed that the cargo ship will transport over 23,000t of wheat which it said is “aiming to solve hunger in east Africa”.
The Brave Commander, which is sailing under the flag of Lebanon, arrived in the Pivdennyi seaport near Odesa 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 the journey will take around a fortnight to complete, according to Ukrainian Minister for Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov.
The vessel has been chartered under the framework of the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP).
The Brave Commander is among 17 vessels which have left Ukrainian ports in recent weeks, carrying almost half a million tonnes of agricultural produce including corn, sunflower oil and meal.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative followed a deal between Ukraine and Russia to allow for shipments of agricultural produce from the Ukraine to resume through Black Sea ports from August 1.
The agreement signed in July followed 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 stated that the “next step is to ensure the ability of Ukraine ports to handle more than 100 vessels/month”.
The first ship to leave Ukraine under the deal, the Razoni, was due to deliver over 26,000t of corn to Lebanon, however the buyer refused the shipment due to a delay of delivery terms.
The ship later docked in Turkey; its present location is currently unconfirmed but media reports have suggested that it is bound for Syria.
Ukraine exported three million tonnes of agricultural products in July, according to the country’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food.
2.66 million tonnes of grains, oilseeds and by-products, excluding rapeseeds, were exported, which is 492,700t, or 22.7% more than June.
Corn continues to dominate the export of agricultural products, its supply in July accounted for about 41% of the total export.