Minister Skuodis at the International Transport Forum: it is necessary to immediately unblock Ukrainian ports and ensure movement of cargo

In order to avoid a global food crisis and further rise in commodity prices, all available measures to assist Ukraine in ensuring safe operation of Black Sea ports and transport of cargo remain important. Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis expressed this position at the press conference of the ministers of transport of seven countries on Wednesday, at the International Transport Forum (ITF) held on May 18-19 in Leipzig, Germany.

Minister Skuodis, together with the ministers of transport of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Poland and Ukraine, presented a document “Call to Action” at the Forum’s press conference calling for an end to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the country’s ongoing seaport blockade. The countries agreed to continue their efforts to support Ukraine’s development and the reconstruction of transport infrastructure.

“In order to prevent a further rise in food prices and global food crisis, the world needs Ukrainian grain, so it is imperative to reopen the Ukrainian ports. We need to find ways to unblock the port of Odessa in particular, and for Ukraine to be able to secure efficient logistics channels for the country’s cargo exports to European and world markets. The smooth movement of food products and global food security are areas where delays are inexcusable,” said Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis at a press conference of the seven ministers.

The topic will also be discussed at the Forum’s Ministerial Roundtable “Global Transport and the War in Ukraine” on Thursday.

As Russia blocks the movement of ships to and from Ukrainian seaports, the Baltic States and Poland are actively looking for ways to help Ukraine export agricultural products. At the end of April, a test train of the Lithuanian Railways freight company LTG Cargo left for Ukraine and is currently on its way back to Lithuania.  Freight trains from Ukraine will pass through Poland to Kaunas Intermodal Terminal. According to the Minister of Transport and Communications, in the future, cargo could be transported from here or from Šeštokai railway station by broad-gauge railway to Klaipėda Seaport.

Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis, who attended the European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels this week, where he discussed Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and further EU support to Ukraine, also spoke about the opening of the Ukrainian seaports.

According to Landsbergis, the impending global food crisis is a consequence of the blockade of Ukrainian seaports. It is therefore necessary to help Ukraine to ensure the security of the Black Sea ports, or Ukraine must be provided with enough weaponry to do so on its own – to ensure the security of the grain transport the world so desperately needs. It is necessary to stop Russian aggression and ensure safe operation of Black Sea ports.

Last year, Klaipėda Seaport handled 3.34 mln. tonnes of grain, the year before that – 4.6 mln. tonnes. In 2021, LTG Cargo carried about 2.4 mln. tonnes of grain, of which local shipments accounted for about 1.8 mln. tonnes.

Ukraine aims to export up to 20 million tonnes of wheat and maize of last year’s harvest in the short term.

In addition, Lithuania has already facilitated Ukrainian carriers with the possibility to carry out bilateral and transit cargo transportation through the territory of Lithuania without road transport permits.

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2022-05-18 17:47
Tarptaut.santykiai, Transportas
Kontaktinis asmuo
Communication Division
at the Ministry of Transport and Communications
of the Republic of Lithuania