The EU will support the export of Ukrainian food. Due to the port blockade, Ukrainian grain and other agro-products cannot reach the places where they were intended. This situation threatens global food security.
This created an urgent need to set up alternative logistics routes using all relevant modes of transport.
The EU executive has set out an action plan to establish “solidarity corridors” to ensure that Ukraine can export grain as well as import the goods it needs, from humanitarian aid to feed and fertilizers.
In this context, EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean said that with the help of EU infrastructure, 20 million tonnes of grain had to leave Ukraine in less than three months.
“It is a huge challenge and therefore it is necessary to coordinate and optimize logistics chains, set up new routes and at the same time avoid obstacles as much as possible,” she described the situation.
According to her, the measure concerns emergency solutions, but also medium- and long-term measures aimed at better integration of Ukrainian infrastructure into EU infrastructure and better interconnection.
The Commission noted that thousands of wagons and lorries are waiting for equipment on the Ukrainian side, on the border between Ukraine and EU countries, with an average waiting time of 16 days for wagons and up to 30 days at some border crossings. Other grain ready for export is stored in Ukrainian forces.
One of the problems is the different track widths. Ukrainian wagons are not compatible with most rail networks in the EU, so most goods have to be transferred to trucks or wagons that comply with EU rails.
The Commission wants to remove these obstacles and create solidarity corridors. In the short term, together with Member States and stakeholders, it wants to put in place the following measures: complementing freight wagons, vessels and lorries; increasing the capacity of transport networks and transhipment terminals; greater flexibility of customs operations and inspections and the provision of temporary storage facilities for Ukrainian goods destined for export to the EU.
In this context, the EU executive has called on member states to make additional vehicles available immediately to help transport the Ukrainian harvest. The Commission will set up a logistics platform for networking and ask Member States to designate single points of contact for solidarity corridors.
The transport of Ukrainian agricultural products should be given priority, which requires the creation of new railway operating intervals.
The Commission also called on Euroblock countries to rapidly relocate mobile grain loading systems to relevant border terminals to speed up transhipments, and will also assess available storage capacity in the EU to help ensure greater capacity for the temporary storage of Ukrainian goods for export.
In the medium and long term, the EC will also work to expand infrastructure capacity within the new export corridors and to create new infrastructure connections as part of Ukraine’s reconstruction.
In this context, the European Commission took a decision on Thursday to sign a high-level agreement with Ukraine and to update the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) maps.
Under normal circumstances, Ukraine exports 75 percent of the grain it produces, which represents about 20 percent of national annual export earnings. Before the war, 90 percent of Ukrainian grain and oilseeds were exported through Ukrainian Black Sea ports. About a third of exported commodities go to Europe, another two thirds to China and Africa. (TASR)