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War in Ukraine forces grain and oil to travel greater distances

Buyers are sending grain and oil from increasingly distant countries after the military conflict in Ukraine disrupted traditional trade routes, the UN informed.

Grain shipments travelled record distances in 2023 as importers switched to buying from other countries after Ukraine’s exports were blocked, according to a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) review of maritime transport.

We have longer distances being traveled mainly because of the disruption in the Black Sea and because of the war in Ukraine. It will be very important to try to mitigate the risk factors that we are having because of the geopolitical issues.

Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter and a major oil supplier, while Ukraine is also a major food exporter.

The blockade of Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea and attacks on river ports have disrupted grain and agricultural supplies.

Meanwhile, Russia is looking for new oil importers as European buyers shun oil supplies. As a result, Moscow has begun to focus primarily on China and India.

Although grain shipments from Ukraine resumed in 2022 thanks to the Black Sea Initiative, several grain-importing countries had to rely on alternative grain exporters. They are instead buying from the United States of America, or Brazil, which requires longer hauls.


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