Railway capacity limits Ukrainian grain export potential – APK-Inform




Ukraine is among TOP-5 largest exporters of wheat, corn and barley. The share of export amounted to 70-73% in three recent seasons. 99% of the foreign supplies were transported through the seaports that area currently blocked due to the Russian military aggression.

Ukraine exported 18.1 mln tonnes of wheat since the start of 2021/22 MY to February 24 (81% of the expected potential estimated at 22.5 mln tonnes in February), 5.7 mln tonnes of barley (95%, 6 mln tonnes) and 17.9 mln tonnes of corn (60%, 30 mln tonnes).

Today, checkpoints at the borders with the EU’s countries are the main way to export Ukrainian agricultural products. Railway checkpoints at the borders with Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary are the key routs for Ukrainian grain.

Railway statistics showed that 921.6 thsd tonnes of corn, 7 thsd tonnes of wheat and 4.9 thsd tonnes of barley were loaded for export through land border checkpoints in March-May.

Unfortunately, the capacity of railway border checkpoints is much lower compared to that of seaports. Railways of Ukraine and neighbor countries require time to adapt to the sharp growth of transportation volumes.

Taking into account the abovementioned factors, APK-Inform forecasts wheat export from Ukraine in 2021/22 MY at 18.8 mln tonnes (+13% y/y), barley – 5.7 mln tonnes (+37%), corn – 21.2 mln tonnes (-11%).