A first convoy sailed away from Ukrainian waters 5th of this month, bringing essential grains out of Ukraine. Three ships have left two ports and are traveling together on a secure route through the Black Sea for inspection at Istanbul and on to destinations throughout Europe. In addition, the first ship was granted permission the right to stop at the Ukrainian port to take on.

Two weeks ago, Ukraine and Russia came to an agreement to establish secure transportation routes that will allow Ukrainian grain exports to three ports. This week, the first vessel left from Ukraine per the terms in the Black Sea Grain Initiative was checked in Istanbul to confirm that it was carrying only grain before being allowed to continue its journey to the final destination of Lebanon. Today is the first day of increase in the number of ships taking last year’s harvest out of Ukraine. Seven more ships at Odesa and Chornomorsk ports have already been filled with grain and are ready for shipment.

“While the cargo carrying capacity of the three vessels only accounts for a minor fraction of the twenty million tonnes of Ukrainian grains awaiting export, the development adds to the positive momentum. Hence, the flow of seaborne exports may accelerate in the near term,” an update today from the chartering platform Shipfix said.

The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) was created as part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in Istanbul on July 27, 2007, to monitor grain flow. Since February, the JCC has discussed the need for commercial vessels stranded in Ukrainian ports to leave at their designated destinations.

“Their movement will free up valuable pier space for more inbound ships to come in and carry food to global markets in line with the Initiative,” the JCC stated in a release.

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