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On July 24, geopolitics filing mentions in the transport industry tripled as Russia launched a four-hour aerial assault on Ukraine’s Danube ports of Reni and Izmail.
Ukrainian officials said 15 Iranian-supplied Shahed-136 drones were used for the attack, which wounded six people and destroyed three grain warehouses.
The Danube export route has become increasingly important in the aftermath of Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
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However, even at maximum operational efficiency the Danube can only replace 50% of The Port of Odesa capacity because of a shallower waterway.
Brokered by the United Nations (UN) and Turkey in July 2022, the Black Sea deal has been one of few diplomatic successes since the war broke out, allowing for the safe export of Ukraine’s grain out of three ports.
In all, the deal has transported 32.9 million tonnes of grain, including 725,000 exports to the World Food Programme (WFP).
This conflict-driven drop in exports is expected to cause grain stockpiles in Ukraine – one of the world’s major breadbaskets – and trigger a sharp rise in global wheat and corn futures.
Crisis-hit nations reliant on WFP imports will be most affected, including Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Kenya.
Hours after Monday’s attack, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for Russia to return to the Black Sea grain deal, warning of a devastating impact on “vulnerable countries struggling to feed their people”, Reuters reported.
The Kremlin has since said Russia’s return to the deal is “impossible” without various demands being met.