Three Black Sea ports of Ukraine have resumed accepting grain export ships despite Russia's threats to fire on vessels heading to Ukrainian ports, Bloomberg reports.
"Ten ships have completed journeys to major Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea without incident in the past few weeks, defying Russia’s threats to target vessels in the area," it said.
The ships' passage signals that Ukraine’s daring bet to set up its own trade route after the collapse of a safe-corridor agreed with Russia has paid off.
Under the safe-corridor deal, all ships headed to Ukraine had to undergo inspections in Istanbul, and only agricultural commodities were included.
According to the agency, under the safe corridor agreement, all ships heading to Ukraine are inspected in Istanbul, and their cargo consists only of agricultural goods.
The cost of insuring ships sailing in such a risky area is also an issue. In a sign that the new strategy is gaining momentum, insurance broker Miller said it was offering “full war risks insurance coverage” for Ukraine Black Sea grain ships.
"That doesn’t necessarily make the journeys less treacherous for crew members. But it could help to make some exports easier for Ukraine’s agriculture sector, which provided employment for over one in ten Ukrainians as of early last year, according to the USDA. It is also an important contributor to global food supplies," Bloomberg said.
With the help of advanced Clearwater Dynamics technology, all vessels travelling through the corridor and in Ukrainian ports are now tracked around the clock until they leave the high-risk area.
The new corridor is protected by minefields. The route runs along the coast to the waters of Romania and Bulgaria, which are NATO countries. Previously, the grain corridor went directly across the sea to Istanbul, where a joint commission of UN, Turkish and Russian representatives inspected ships delivering Ukrainian grain.