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More Grain Reaching Ukraine Black Sea Ports, Rail Official Says

FILE - A farmer holds wheat in a granary on a private farm in Zhurivka, Kyiv region, Ukraine, Aug. 10, 2023.
FILE - A farmer holds wheat in a granary on a private farm in Zhurivka, Kyiv region, Ukraine, Aug. 10, 2023.

The number of rail freight cars heading to the ports of Ukraine's Odesa region continued to rise over the past week thanks to the successful operation of the alternative Black Sea exports corridor, a senior railways official said late Thursday.

Valeriy Tkachov, deputy director of the commercial department at Ukrainian Railways, said on Facebook that over the last week the number of grain cars heading to Odesa ports increased by more than 26% to 5,341 from 4,227.

He said up to 970 cars were unloaded at the ports' silos every day.

A week earlier the number of cars jumped by around 50%.

In August, Ukraine launched a "humanitarian corridor" for ships bound for African and Asian markets to try to circumvent a de facto blockade in the Black Sea after Russia quit a deal that had guaranteed Kyiv's seaborne exports during the war.

Later, a senior agricultural official said the route - which runs along Ukraine's southwest Black Sea coast, into Romanian territorial waters and onward to Turkey - would also be used for grain shipments.

Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Thursday 91 vessels had exported 3.3 million tons of agricultural and metal products since the corridor started operating in August.

The UCAB agricultural business association said this month that Ukrainian grain agricultural exports rose by 15% to 4.8 million metric tons in October thanks to the new corridor.

Ukraine's government expects a grain and oilseeds harvest of 79 million tons in 2023, with a 2023/24 exportable surplus of about 50 million tons.

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