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EU maintains separate export routes for Ukrainian grain for the time being

Another three ships carrying grain left the Ukrainian port of Odessa on Friday. Their departure follows the successful inspection in Istanbul of the first ship carrying grain to leave Ukraine early this week since the Russian invasion in late February.

The first ship was inspected by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations to make sure everything went according to plan. After the inspection, the ship was given the green light to continue the journey to its final destination, Lebanon.

Despite the resumption of grain exports via Ukrainian Black Sea ports, the European Union is committed to sticking to its plan for alternative freight routes. Those other routes will remain necessary for the time being, according to Brussels, because exports will not immediately return to their old strength.

Agricultural exports through Ukraine's Black Sea ports had been blocked for months by the Russian war of aggression. That is why the European Commission launched an initiative in the spring to develop alternative logistics routes via countries of the European Union. 

Every tonne exported counts, and by increasing Europe's transportation system, the EU can help secure food supplies. EU Commissioner Adina Vălean acknowledged that there is 'still room for improvement.' There are not enough freight cars and barges and more capacity is needed for the temporary storage of Ukrainian exports. 

According to the Brussels authorities, the transport routes to ports in Romania and Poland in particular were used intensively. The greatest hopes are currently pinned on the recent agreement between the United Nations and Turkey, which should make it possible to resume regular Ukrainian agricultural exports via the Black Sea.

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