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Local residents walk past a destroyed building during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 12 2022. Picture: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO
Local residents walk past a destroyed building during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 12 2022. Picture: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

Blockaded ports in Ukraine are threatening global food security, as the country struggles to reroute grain shipments due to bottlenecks caused by Russia’s invasion, according to Ukrainian officials.

Most of Ukraine’s ports have been shut since the war erupted, limiting its grain exports to rail and road routes via neighbouring EU nations. That has curtailed shipments to 1.1-million tonnes in April, versus about 5-million tonnes a month in normal times. 

“We have no major alternative to sea transport,” deputy economy minister Taras Kachka said during an online conference on Friday. Rerouting cargoes would take years to organise, and the EU’s infrastructure currently isn’t set up to handle a huge redirection over land routes, he added.

Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, is a key supplier to nations from Europe to Africa and Asia. The war has caused a huge backlog. Kachka said a solution would require the assistance of allies including the US, and is needed quickly to avoid compromising global food security.

Poland’s Gdansk port and Romania’s Constanta are overcrowded as supplies from Ukraine are rerouted, according to Mustafa Nayyem, Ukraine’s deputy minister of infrastructure. Fuel trucks are struggling with clogged checkpoints at the EU border, said Nayyem, who is part of the government’s team helping the country secure supplies after Russia bombed its refineries and depots.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

Blockaded ports in Ukraine are threatening global food security, as the country struggles to reroute grain shipments due to bottlenecks caused by Russia’s invasion, according to Ukrainian officials. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Blockaded ports in Ukraine are threatening global food security, as the country struggles to reroute grain shipments due to bottlenecks caused by Russia’s invasion, according to Ukrainian officials. Picture: BLOOMBERG
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