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EU to help Ukraine export grain

Thursday, May 19, 2022

The European Commission plans to help Ukraine export its agricultural goods as Russia blocks Ukrainian ports.

Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, said that “20 million tonnes of grains have to leave Ukraine in less than three months using the EU infrastructure. This is a gigantesque challenge, so it is essential to coordinate and optimize the logistic chains, put in place new routes, and avoid, as much as possible, the bottlenecks. Our communication addresses the emergency solutions but also medium and long time measures to better connect and integrate Ukraine's infrastructure with the EU one. For both short-term and long-term solutions, we will work with Ukrainian authorities and in close collaboration, especially with the neighboring member states, who spared no effort in helping during this crisis.”

Despite immediate efforts by the EU and its member states to ease border crossings between Ukraine and the EU, thousands of wagons and lorries are waiting for clearance on the Ukrainian side. The average current waiting time for wagons is 16 days, while it is up to 30 days at some borders. More grain is still stored and held back in Ukrainian silos ready for export. Among the challenges are differing rail gauge widths: Ukrainian wagons are not compatible with most of the EU rail network, so most goods need to be transhipped to lorries or wagons that fit the EU standard gauge. This process is time-consuming and transshipment facilities along the borders are scarce.

To address these obstacles and set up the solidarity lanes, the Commission, together with member states and stakeholders, will work on making additional freight rolling stock, vessels and lorries available, prioritizing Ukrainian agricultural shipments, increasing customs flexibility and increasing EU storage capacity.


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