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Ukraine resumes maritime grain exports

The first shipments of grain from Ukraine in more than five months set sail on Aug. 1, helping ease tight global grain supplies, according to multiple news outlets.

Ukrainian and Russian officials signed an agreement on July 22 to allow for a grain shipping corridor on the Black Sea, clearing the way for commercial and humanitarian shipments from the Ukrainian ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.

Cargo ship Razoni, carrying 26,000 tons of corn, left Odessa on Aug. 1 bound for Lebanon. The ship was escorted through waters mined with explosives by Ukrainian pilot ships. The Associated Press reported that three more commercial ships carrying 58,000 tons of corn departed on Aug. 7.

By Aug. 10, a total of 12 vessels containing more than 370,000 metric tons of grain and other food stocks were authorized to depart Ukrainian ports, according to the United Nations.

The July 22 agreement also allowed Russian shipments of grain and fertilizer from Black Sea ports. According to the International Chamber of Shipping, 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural products stuck in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports due to the war will now be able to be transported out of the region via merchant ships.

Cargo traffic from Ukrainian ports halted soon after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. The two countries are among the world’s largest exporter of agricultural products, and the supply interruption resulting from the conflict sparked fears of a global food crisis, particularly in underdeveloped nations that depend on grain imports to feed their citizens.

September wheat futures prices through the Chicago Board of Trade fell by 2.4% on Aug. 1, according to Business Insider. Even before the first ships departed, wheat prices in Asia dropped following the grain corridor agreement, according to Hellenic Shipping News.

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