Egypt abandoned contracts signed with Ukraine for the import of 240,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat. Trading companies Nibulon and Inerco were supposed to handle the delivery of four consignments, but Egypt’s General Directorate of Supply of Goods (GASC) released them from supply agreements which were signed back in February and March of 2022. The supply was never completed due to the Russian invasion, according to Reuters.
In fact, about 300,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat never left Ukraine for Egypt, says Reuters. One batch was “stuck” in the port, and the other four could not be loaded. In December, the grain cost from $346 to $360 per ton including transportation. However, after the start of the full-scale invasion, in April GASC had to pay $494.25 for the same cargo.
There is hope for the fifth batch, which currently remains in the port of Chornomorsk. This cargo was ordered by Olam Group, an international food supplier, and according to Olam, the cargo can be shipped to Egypt once port officials give the green light.
Consequently, a Ukrainian grain export control center was launched in Istanbul, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced on July 27. He contends the first batch of grain could be sent within the next few days.
The procedure for the supply of Ukrainian grain will be monitored by representatives of a Joint Coordination Center (JCC), because all vessels pass through Turkish waters. The JCC will help ensure the safe passage of ships through the “green corridor” by de-mining the seaway route. In addition, at Russia’s request, the JCC will inspect newly arrived ships for weapons.
During a speech at the National Defense University in Istanbul, Akar said that more than 25 million tons of wheat are currently awaiting export and that before the full-scale attack of Russia, Ukraine and Russia together accounted for about a third of the world’s wheat exports. Egypt, which is considered the largest importer of wheat in the world, mostly depended on the supply of Ukrainian grain.
Despite the fact that on July 22, Ukraine and Russia, together with Ankara and the UN, signed an agreement on the resumption of grain and fertilizer exports, on July 23 Russia put the signed agreement in jeopardy by shelling Ukraine’s Odesa port with cruise missiles.
The UN, together with Ukraine and Russia, contend that the export procedure may still begin in the next few days, although, according to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Rudenko, the agreement could fail at any moment if “obstacles to Russian agricultural exports are not immediately removed.”
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