As discussed last week on More Than Shipping, Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia’s first piece of major legislation and cooperation since the Russian invasion of Ukraine was put under serious threat, and fire, after the latest Russian attack of Southern Ukrainian port city Odesa. The latest round of bombing threatened the deal, coordinated by Turkey and the UN, that could see the tons of grain mobilized out of Ukraine.
But as of midday Wednesday, the first ship has set sail into the Black Sea. Paving the way for others to follow, the first boat was nearly halfway to Turkish waters, where it’s expected to be inspected later today, upon first report.
Setting Sail Towards Open Supply
While the bombing of Odesa last week initially spooked all stakeholders from grain farmers to cargo insurers, Razoni – the first ship carrying upwards of 27,000 tons of corn towards Lebanon – was passing Romania’s Danube Delta earlier today. The ship set sail from Odesa thanks to the export diplomacy executed by Turkey and the UN in an effort to aid diplomacy amid the ongoing attrition.
With a two-fold purpose, to both stimulate the economy and mitigate the global food crisis that has been taking shape as boats have been stuck in Ukrainian ports and harbors. The new legislation, agreed to by Moscow, also allows for the export of fertilizer – two of Ukraine’s largest exports.
“The plan is for a ship to leave Odesa… every day,” a Senior Turkish Official told Reuters. “If nothing goes wrong, exports will be made via one ship a day for a while”
The same official, who asked to remain anonymous at this time, said that “technical problems” were the largest factor in delaying Razoni’s departure over the past seven days. For several days the ship needed to prepare to leave after being stuck in Odesa since the February invasion. With all engines now a go, Turkey expects safe passage for all upcoming departures through the NATO enforced safe-passage corridor to pass without restriction.
Razoni is expected to arrive off the coast of Turkey, en route to Lebanon, later today to undergo inspection carried out by Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN stakeholders. More updates from the Joint Coordination Center, located at the mouth of the Black Sea, should be made available later today.
While a small step in the right direction, Razoni is proving the corridor functions. This diplomacy has the chance to have an incredibly a positive impact on the European, and in turn global, economy over the coming months.