How will the Azov Sea ship blockade affect grain exports?


The canal providing passage for vessels that sail from the Azov Sea is temporarily blocked since November 25.

According to an official announcement, the passage was open to civil vessels in the morning of November 26, but the situation remained uncertain. It is worth pointing out that since May 2018, the Russian Federation has repeatedly detained ships heading for Ukrainian ports. This resulted in ship demurrage and consequently extra expenses incurred by the charterers, reports UkrAgroConsult.

At the same time, the Ukrainian ports on the Azov Sea continued operation and ship loading as usual. The problems arose at the exit from the Azov Sea, not in the ports.

As of the morning of November 29, seven ships loaded with various cargoes in Mariupol waited to leave the Azov Sea through the Kerch–Yenikale Canal. Another 12 vessels heading for this port waited for the possibility to enter the Azov Sea from the Black Sea.

According to the Kerch Strait Authority, pilotage is limited because of weather conditions (high wind speed). Meanwhile, following many days of lost vessel time, cargo owners begin to cancel ship calls to the Azov Sea ports.

The ship tracking service Marinetraffic reports a big congestion of ships waiting to pass through the Kerch–Yenikale Canal.

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