Ukraine exports agricultural commodities from Croatian ports
A significant diplomatic breakthrough appears to have occurred at the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Bucharest on 7th September, where First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine, Yuliia Svyrydenko, engaged in pivotal discussions with Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, according to the Ukrainian government. Their bilateral meeting addressed many pressing issues, including demining efforts, war crimes investigations, and establishing new trade routes for Ukrainian grain exports.
One of the most notable outcomes of the meeting was Ukraine's alleged initiation of agricultural exports from Croatian ports. Yuliia Svyrydenko expressed her gratitude for this opportunity, signalling Ukraine's preparedness to expand the transport corridor's capacity. She firmly believes that this corridor will retain its pivotal role in bilateral trade even after the resolution of ongoing conflicts, according to the address posted on the Ukrainian governmental website. This development confirms long-standing rumours and speculations about Ukraine's search for alternative export routes, dispelling notions of potential arrangements with countries like Romania, which never materialised.
The timing of this revelation coincides with a recent drone attack on Ukrainian ports, reported by Mintec on 6th September. This attack has rekindled concerns surrounding the security of critical port infrastructure, particularly Kiliya and Izmail, the primary targets. These ports are essential for handling bulk cargo, particularly grains, a crucial export to the Middle East and Mediterranean countries.
Market players and stakeholders, who had witnessed a temporary decline in such attacks following a surge in incidents throughout July and August, are now anxious about the resurgence of threats. The revival of these security concerns poses potential risks to Ukrainian exports, considering these ports are currently the sole means of sea-based exports following the closure of the grain corridor deal on 17th July.
With Ukraine now able to export through Croatian ports, market experts have suggested that similar agreements with neighbouring countries may be on the horizon. This could provide Ukraine with additional export options and alleviate concerns expressed by European market players about the potential flooding of EU markets with Ukrainian goods.
In their closing remarks, both parties underscored the critical importance of jointly addressing export restrictions on Ukrainian goods. These deliberations significantly strengthen the Ukraine-Croatia relationship as both countries collaborate on vital humanitarian, security, and trade-related matters within a complex geopolitical landscape.