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Sea of Azov Clash - How does it affect the Black Sea Exports?

Updated: Dec 4, 2018

On the 29th of November, the Minister of Infrastructure V. Omelyan said that approaches to Mariupol and Berdyansk ports remained blocked by Russia. He has stated on the 28th November 2018, that 35 vessels are waiting for permission to pass the Kerch Strait.

Since May, after Moscow opened a bridge connecting Kremlin-occupied Crimea to the Russian Taman Peninsula, Russian coast guard ships have been stopping Ukrainian and international commercial vessels. The naval harassment has delayed many commercial liners headed to and from Ukrainian ports for hours and, sometimes, even days.

In particular, at the entrance to the Sea of Azov, there are 18 ships, of which 4 go to Berdyansk, 14 to Mariupol. The queues for the exit from Azov to the Black Sea are expected to be 3 vessels in the port of Berdyansk and 6 in Mariupol. Another 8 ships are located near the port berths.

"The vessels are moving only to the Russian ports of Azov while domestic ports are blocked," said V. Omelyan. Currently, ships bound for the Russian ports on the Sea of Azov are being allowed through the Kerch Strait by the Russian authorities.

A Trading vessel exporting goods from the Azov Sea
Shipping Vessel in the Azov Sea - Copyright to Detroit News

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration Klimpush-Tsintsadze said that the attack on Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait once again confirmed Russia's intentions to annex the Azov Sea.

Two Ukrainian Azov Sea ports, Berdyansk and Mariupol, are effectively under blockade by Russia as vessels are being barred from leaving and entering, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, Volodymyr Omelyan, affirmed.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that martial law in 10 regions of Ukraine would be in effect until December 26.

The law went effect in Vinnytsia, Odessa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Sumy & Chernihiv regions in Ukraine.

Article 19 of the Law of Ukraine 'On the legal regime of martial law' expressly prohibits elections, referendums, strikes, rallies, and amendments to the Constitution.

There remain no interruptions on the exports from Ukraine at other ports at this time. This list includes Odessa, Nikolayev, Kherson and Mykolaiv.

Consequently, companies and Ukraine’s economy face millions of dollars in losses. And events both in the Azov Sea and on the Ukrainian mainland — shipping interruptions, a flare-up of the war with Russia, and martial law — all can have broader economic implications.

Without the Azov Sea, Ukrainian grain producers would have to transit their grain to other Black Sea ports like Kherson and Mykolaiv. As rail network is currently being used at full capacity, that would mean “more bad roads for residents of Azov Sea regions” as producers tried to ship goods by truck, researcher Kravchuk said.

The Eurasia Intercontinental Trading group is following the developments, in the area by our staff in both Ukraine and Russia, to ensure that any potential risk to the trade of products to our customers. For any enquiries please contact us at ***UPDATE*** Ukraine said on Tuesday it had resumed grain shipments from the Azov Sea, blocked for around 10 days after a military standoff with Russia in the Kerch Strait off Crimea.

“The passage of vessels with agricultural products through ports in the Azov Sea has been unlocked,” Ukraine’s agriculture ministry said on Tuesday in a statement.

“The loading of grain to vessels through the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk is restored and carried out in regular mode,” it said.

Cranes are seen in the Azov Sea port of Mariupol, Ukraine December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo
Cranes are seen in the Azov Sea port of Mariupol, Ukraine December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

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