Ukraine says grain on ships in blocked Black Sea ports could deteriorate

kyiv, April 15 (Reuters)About 1.25 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds are still on commercial ships stranded in Ukrainian seaports due to the Russian invasion and some of the cargo may deteriorate in the near future, it said on Friday. the Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture.

Ukraine used to export almost all of its grains and oilseeds through seaports and is now forced to find new routes as its ports are blocked.

Before the war, Ukraine exported up to 6 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds per month, while in March exports fell to 200,000 tonnes, Mykola Solskyi told the Ukrayinska Pravda newspaper.

“It (the cargo) is not unloaded and is still on ships. There are currently 57 ships with 1.25 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds,” Solskyi said.

“As for the retention period, I think even the captains themselves in most cases don’t know if there are any issues with that. They certainly didn’t plan to keep that grit on the ships for a long time,” he added.

Solskyi said it all depends on the condition of the ships’ holds and that if the grain is stored for more than three months, “problems arise and some of the cargo may be spoiled.”

Ukraine traditionally exports grain to North Africa and the Middle East, and Solskyi said those regions would be forced to spend more money and focus on wheat of non-Ukrainian origin.

He said importers were already spending more and the grain supply situation from Ukraine could push those countries to build up larger grain reserves, which would also lead to higher prices.

“That is to say, even if this story magically ends tomorrow, the wave of high prices will still last 3 to 5 years, until the mood stabilizes, and there will be no balance,” added Solskyi.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by David Evans)

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