(Reuters) – Exports of Ukraine’s grain will not reach 3 million tonnes in November as Russia tries to limit ship inspections at ports, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said late on Sunday.
In October, some 4.2 million tonnes of grain left Ukrainian ports, Kubrakov said on his Facebook page.
“It was the custom to conduct 40 inspections a day, now, due to Russia’s position, there are five times fewer checks,” he said.
A deal aimed at easing global food shortages by helping Ukraine export its agricultural products and protecting the transit corridor from three Black Sea ports that was originally reached in July was extended for four months in mid-November.
Ukraine and Russia are major global grain exporters. They agreed that teams would check the vessels to ensure no barred people or goods were arriving at or departing from Ukrainian ports.
But Ukraine’s exports have gotten off to a slower start with Kyiv putting the blame on Russia’s reluctance to speed up ship inspections.
Kubrakov said 77 ships were queuing to pass the inspection in Turkey while the three Black Sea ports use up to only 50% of their capacity.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said in September that Russia and the developing world had been “cheated” by the UN-brokered Ukrainian grain export deal, delivering the grain to its own states.
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hosted a summit in Kyiv with allied nations to launch a plan to export $150 million worth of grain to countries most vulnerable to famine and drought.
(Reporting in Winnipeg by Ronald Popeski and in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly; Writing by Lidia Kelly; editing by Diane Craft)