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Black Sea Initiative: UN, Italy welcome first shipment of corn out of Odesa

NEW YORK, AUGUST 1 – A cargo ship loaded with more than 26-thousand tonnes of corn became today the first commercial ship to sail from the port of Odesa since 26 February.  It should arrive at the inspection location in Turkish territorial waters tomorrow, 2 August. Following inspection, it will proceed to its final destination in Tripoli, Lebanon – a country heavily dependent on grain imports. “Ensuring that existing grain and foodstuffs can move to global markets is a humanitarian imperative”, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

The ship’s departure is the first concrete result of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Italy – both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mission to the UN in New York –  welcomed the departure of the first shipment of grain: “It is necessary to ensure that exports continue in line with existing commitments, in order to ease the global food crisis”. According to the Italian Permanent Representative, Maurizio Massari, “it is a small but significant step” as the ship will bring relief to global food security in a fragile humanitarian contexts. Ambassador Massari called today’s development “an achievement of JCC, created under the auspices of the United Nations”. 

The ship is loaded with two commodities in short supply: “Corn, and hope”, said Guterres: “Hope for millions of people around the world who depend on the smooth running of Ukraine’s ports to feed their families”. The Secretary General said that ensuring “existing grain and foodstuffs can move to global markets is a humanitarian imperative.”

Ukraine and Russia account for nearly a third of global wheat imports, with the two countries supplying more than 45 million tonnes annually, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Grain Initiative allows for significant volumes of exports from Odesa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny. Inspection teams will monitor the loading of grain at the ports, wit Ukrainian pilot vessels guiding the ships through the Black Sea, after which they will head out through the Bosphorus Strait, passing Istanbul, along an agreed corridor. (@OnuItalia)


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