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Ukrainian grain vessels take 2 weeks to be inspected, leading to large backlogs

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150 Ukrainian grain ships are waiting to be cleared by UN inspectors, the agency told Insider. The progress of grain ships has been closely watched since the start of the Ukrainian war. As one of the largest wheat exporters in the world, Ukraine has a huge impact on global food markets. Something is loading.

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Analysts say the time it takes to inspect Ukrainian vessels carrying vital supplies of grain, fertilizer and other food more than doubled from normal last month, resulting in a backlog of more than 100 ships waiting to enter or leave Ukraine.

150 vessels are currently waiting to be cleared by UN inspectors, a spokesperson for the Joint Collaborating Center (JCC) of the United Nations Black Sea Grains Initiative told Insider on Monday.

“Several factors are contributing to this backlog, including increased industry interest in sending more vessels to participate in the Initiative, lack of inspection readiness by some vessels,” the spokesperson said. .

The progress of ships leaving Ukraine has been closely watched since the start of the Ukrainian war.

Ukraine is known as the breadbasket of Europe, accounting for around 10% and 15% of global wheat and maize production respectively between 2018 and 2020, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Exports all but ceased after Russia’s invasion, raising concerns about the possible impact that lower Ukrainian grain availability could have on global food security.

In July, the UN brokered an agreement between Ukraine, Russia and Turkey to restart shipments of grain and other supplies from blocked Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Under the agreement, vessels enjoy safe passage through unmined areas of the Black Sea and are inspected in Turkey, before heading to their final destination.

The Financial Times first reported on the backlog of ships awaiting inspection, citing figures published by SovEcon which tracks Black Sea agricultural markets.

Data from SovEcon, which was shared on Twitter by the company’s director, Andrey Sizov, showed that the time taken between ships leaving the port of Odessa to clear customs in Turkey has increased sharply.

At the beginning of August, the wait was two to six days, while in mid-September it was 10 to 15 days on average.

Amir Abdulla, UN coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, told the FT that more vessels were arriving than expected, leaving the committee’s five inspection teams strained.

“We basically need to get all parties to agree that we need to add inspectors,” Abdulla told the FT.

Inspections are carried out daily by joint inspection teams made up of Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian and UN inspectors, the JCC said.

As of Monday, more than 90 ships had yet to reach their final destination, according to the Black Sea Grain Initiative tracker, although some of them had left port recently. As of October 7, 285 voyages from Ukrainian ports have carried a total of 6,429,098 metric tons of grain and other foodstuffs.

In August, the first vessel to leave under the deal, the Razoni, was temporarily blocked after the intended buyer of its 26,000 tonnes of grain rejected the shipment.

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