UAE to create a hub for Russian grain shipments to the Middle East
United Arab Emirates propose to store Russian grain to ensure stability of supply in the Persian Gulf, and later the entire Middle East, according to an interview with ITAR TASS of the UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri.
"Our offer is the ability to import grain at a fair price and in sufficient quantity, to store it in the UAE, as the logistics center, which we are developing," - said Al Mansouri.
The interviewee noted that the UAE domestic needs are estimated at about 800 thsd tons, but to the needs of the region UAE consider it necessary to maintain a constant supply of at least 3 million tons.
"We need to have this stock in case of crisis, drought," - said Saeed Al Mansouri. The Minister stressed that the grain can be purchased in other countries, such as Australia or Canada, but the logistical capabilities of Russia as well as Russian grain price are more attractive to the UAE.
"Stability of supplies from Australia and Canada raises questions. In Russia, the problem is not as prevalent," - he concluded.
USDA forecasts the 2014 Russia harvest at the level of 95-98 million tons of grain and export of 25 million tons of grain. The ministry said that the high export potential of the Russian grain contributes to the favorable situation on the world market. Arab countries, especially Egypt, are the largest buyers of Russian grain.
Expert opinion: The UAE is not the largest buyer of the Russian grain, unlike neighboring Saudi Arabia, according to the head of the analytical center "ProZerno" Vladimir Petrychenko. Annual Emirates purchase in Russia is not more than 100 thousand tons of grain, whereas from 1 July 2013 to April 2014 (the current crop year) Turkey has purchased 3.746 million tons of Russian grain, Egypt - 3.306 million tons, Saudi Arabia - 1.413 million tons. Iran takes the fourth place among buyers of grain in Russia - 1.219 million tons.
In general, the export of grain in the current year may reach 26.08 million tons.
The head of analytical department of JSC "Rusagrotrans" Igor Pavensky told that the construction of a grain logistics center can be interesting for the distribution of Russian grain to other countries in the Middle East. But the question remains what side will perform as the project investor, the deputy head of the Russian Grain Union Alexander Korbut said : "If the idea expressed by the UAE, it is their interest, but on the whole we all have a promising direction."
On average, the construction of facilities for grain storage costs with investor rate of $ 200-300 per tonne, said the head of the Russian Grain Union Arkady Zlochevskiy. "Many countries want to have a hub and disperse the flour to neighboring areas, but as a staging point it makes sense to build 50-150 tons, not more," - he said.
Al Mansouri also said that the UAE is planning to double its trade with Russia and bring it up to $ 6 billion. He stressed that especially attractive for the Russian exporters should be possibility to re-export by UAE of the Russian goods. "The UAE could become a gateway and the main point of flows redistribution of the Russian goods in the Middle East".
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