Ukraine is looking for a one-year extension to the Black Sea Grain Corridor deal, which was first signed in July last year and was extended in November 2022, with the current expiry date being in mid-March.
s part of the agreement, Ukraine is permitted to export goods from three of its Black Sea ports. Before sailing through the Bosphorus to their final destination, the ships are then examined by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN in Turkey to the north of Istanbul.
The deal, which was struck last July and extended in November, has allowed grain and other agricultural products to move from the Port of Odesa despite the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago and blockaded Ukrainian ports for five months prior to signing an agreement that allowed grain to be shipped from the Port of Odesa unimpeded.
More specifically, Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, commented that:
The Black Sea Grain Initiative has been a global success since it was first brokered, ensuring the timely movement of food to where it is sorely needed. We hope that a solution can be found that ensures grain continues to move out of Ukraine, and that all those involved in its movement can be reassured about their safety
The current deal runs out on March 18th. Ukrainian officials have made it clear they will try to negotiate a one-year extension of the grain pact, rather than having to renegotiate every three months, while government officials are also keen to get other ports including Mykolaiv included in the shipping agreement as well as other commodities such as steel.
Ukraine will also seek an increase in the number of inspection teams in Turkish waters in order to eliminate the ship queue that has grown considerably this month, stymying export volumes.