Russia looks to expand grain export capacity in Black Sea, Far East


Russia’s minister of agriculture Alexander Tkachev has called for expanding grain export capacity to accommodate bigger exports.

Tkachev called for the increase of capacity at Black Sea and Azov Sea ports, boosting exports via the Baltic Sea ports, especially in Kaliningrad, and creating export infrastructure in the Far East. Construction of terminals there has already started, and would allow Siberia to increase exports to Asia, Tkachev said at a briefing, published on the government website.

Tkachev also called for the upgrade of port infrastructure, allowing bigger vessels to load at Kavkaz near the Kerch straits, and more river barges able to ship grain along rivers to the Black Sea in order to facilitate exports.

Grain exports for the 2017-2018 harvest year have so far amounted to 36 million mt of which 28 million mt were wheat, and are expected to reach 45 million-47 million mt, said Tkachev.

“This will allow us to rank first in the world in terms of grain exports and second in terms of wheat exports,” he said.

Last year Russia had a record grain harvest of over 135 million mt.

Tkachev also noted that for the first time Siberia had exported grain through southern ports. Exports have benefited from discount rail tariffs, which according to Tkachev were very efficient. But he warned there was a dearth of suitable railcars, a problem which could be tackled by reducing the time of loading and discharging grain.

In addition to discount rail tariffs, farmers had been offered easier access to cheaper short-term crediting and discounted equipment.

Prime Minister Medvedev said in the statement that motor fuel prices — diesel and gasoline — had increased and needed to be monitored, although some agricultural machines had switched to gas.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said motor fuel prices had risen by less than the excise duty hike and were capped by low seasonal demand. Spring agricultural works had started in southern Russia, according to the statement.


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