OVERVIEW: Destinations of outbound vessels under the UN Black Sea Grain Initiative

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In the face of the Ukrainian war and the Russian blockade on Ukraine’s ports, the UN launched the Black Sea Grain initiative in coordination with representatives of Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, to contribute to global food security by allowing the export of grain and foodstuffs from three key Ukrainian ports (Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi). Since 1 August 2022, this agreement has been in place permitting the transport of cereals around the world.

However, on Wednesday 7 September 2022, the Russian President stated that he intended to limit the destination of grain to certain countries, claiming that only two of the 87 ships that had departed carried 60,000 tonnes of products to poor countries. In Putin’s words “If we exclude Turkey as an intermediary country, then almost all the grain exported from Ukraine is sent not to the poorest developing countries, but to European Union countries“.

Farm Europe analysis

According to the data compiled by Farm Europe on this topic, a total of 96 outbound vessels exported grain under the UN deal as per the operational updates from the Joint Coordination Center received until 6 September, which also included the boats that were to depart on Wednesday 7 September 2022 (the day of Putin’s statement).

Also, the total tonnage of grain and other foodstuffs exported from the three Ukrainian ports before this statement accounted for more than 2,171,936 metric tonnes.

These have been the specific countries that have received grain from Ukraine’s ports under the UN deal, and the quantities received:   

Country N° of vessels receivedQuantity of grain (Metric Tonnes) 
UK 113,041
Ireland 133,000
Turkey 37439,490
Italy 7128,368
Iran 160,150
South Korea274,000
The Netherlands4109,198
Egypt 8230,991
Greece 316,279
Israel 451,810
Sudan 165,340
India 382,100
France 221,750
China          2111,840

These figures indicate that EU member countries received 795,017 metric tonnes out of the total 2,171,936 metric tonnes of cereals exported from Ukrainian ports. That means that around 1,376,919 metric tonnes of grain and foodstuffs went to non-EU countries. Even so, by subtracting Turkey’s figures of perceived grain out of this amount, a total of around 937,429 metric tonnes of exports remained available to third countries. 

The account for the amount of grain that was sent to least developed countries, according to the UNCTAD classification of least developed countries, was of a total of 125,840 metric tonnes of grain: Sudan received 65,340 metric tonnes of grain while Ethiopia and Yemen (reported under the unclear category because they passed through other intermediary destinations) received a total of 60,500 metric tonnes from the vessels Brave Commander and Karteria under the UN WFP.