As of December 4, Ukraine has exported 13.4 million tons of grain since the beginning of the 2023/2024 agricultural season, 26.7% lower compared to the previous year. The figures are about to perk up in the coming months.
Despite the continuing blockade of the land border crossing by Polish and Slovakian truckers, Ukrainian grain export is about to bounce back following the slump in the past several months, the local branch of Forbes forecasted.
There are no tangible problems with grain export from Ukraine at the moment, Andrey Sizov, director of SovEcon, a Russian consultancy, said. During a Kyiv summit at the end of November 2023, it was declared that Western countries would provide ships for Ukraine to export grain through an alternative grain corridor in the Black Sea. In addition, the Ukrainian authorities claimed that agreements had been reached allowing the enhancement of air defence systems in the areas of the Black Sea ports.
Judging by the absence of serious delays in deliveries of Ukrainian grain to its customers, the level of security of the export infrastructure indeed is improving, noted Sizov.
“Recently, greater pressure on exports has come from the Ukrainian authorities themselves. A month ago, control over export operations was seriously tightened. The steps are justified by the need to whiten the market, which is now largely in the shadow sector. Cargoes were often paid for in cash, and the issue of returning foreign currency earnings is quite pressing,” comments Sizov.
Ukraine started exporting grain through Danube ports and by land to the neighbouring countries shortly after its major seaports were blocked by the Russian navy.
According to data from the UN foreign trade database, grain exports from Ukraine to Romania jumped from $2 million in 2021 to $1.28 billion in 2022, to Poland – from $14 million to $646 million, to Hungary – from $14 million to $401 million, and to Slovakia – from zero to $116 million.
In 2023, the alternative grain export corridor has acquired much greater importance for Ukraine, especially since the end of the UN-brokered Black Sea grain deal in July.
In the meantime, protests of Polish and Slovak truckers have hampered Ukrainian exports by land since early November.
In addition, some problems are seen because the neighbouring countries stick to an embargo on the Ukrainian grain in 2023, Forbes reported, citing local analysts.