European Commissioner Sinkevičius: No alternative to Ukrainian grain export through Black Sea

Due to large volumes of supplies, the only acceptable route for the export of Ukrainian grain is the Black Sea, alternative directions have infrastructure restrictions and are unprofitable for business, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said.

"Lithuania's position [on the export of Ukrainian grain through Klaipeda and other ports of the Baltic countries] and proposal are very much appreciated as well-intentioned, but the reality is somewhat different. First of all, there is not enough infrastructure to transport these quantities of grain and the only way to do it is through the Black Sea. Everything else is fine, but not enough, plus it is time-consuming because of the different [railway] gauge," Sinkevičius told reporters in Vilnius on Monday following meeting with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.

According to him, in the absence of alternative infrastructure, the road through Lithuania will not be enough. Besides, it will not be convenient for business.

"Let's add one last component – commerce. Grain, its shipment, is also important for the business component, so that it reaches the necessary ports and buyers as quickly as possible, and here, too, transport via Lithuania becomes more difficult, as the cost of shipment also increases," the European Commissioner said.

In turn, Ukrainian farmers are asking for help from Lithuania in obtaining EU subsidies for the transportation of exported grain through Klaipeda and other European ports - in their opinion, this is the only way Ukraine will be able to export the accumulated crop without loss.

The most important thing for Ukrainian farmers who cannot export grain through the Black Sea is that their products reach European ports, and this is impossible without subsidies, Chair of the Ukrainian Agrarian Council Andriy Dykun said.

"The most important thing for us is to get to the sea, because there is the largest throughput. (...) Working with the Baltic countries, and that will be enough. Only if the 'green' corridor works, will transport subsidies work, then the whole system will work, because today, after calculating the losses from the existing logistics, it does not work. It exists, but it is very expensive," Dikun said at a press conference in the Seimas of Lithuania on Monday.

It is unprofitable to export Ukrainian goods through European ports without subsidies, Chair of the Seimas Committee on Rural Affairs Viktoras Pranckietis believes.

Representatives of Ukrainian agrarians say that grain is currently exported abroad through the Danube ports, but such a route increases the cost of one tonne of grain by $60 to $70, and the losses incurred by the country's agrarians amount to EUR 10 billion.

According to Dykun, this year in Ukraine, the surplus of oilseeds and grains may amount to about 30 million tonnes, since the harvest due to good weather will be about 25% to 30% higher than last year.

According to Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs Kazys Starkevičius, grain transit through Europe is necessary to support the export of Ukrainian grain.

The option of intervention purchases of surplus grains, which have already been used before, is also being considered - if the price of grains falls below EUR 100 per tonne, they can be purchased for storage, thereby supporting market prices.