Ukraine Marks Shipping Milestone as IMO Pledges More Assistance

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Ukraine is highlighting that it is reaching four months since it announced the reopening of its shipping corridor on the Black Sea to maintain exports which are vital to its economy. Surpassing more than 200 vessels having departed its ports, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also called attention to the International Maritime Organization’s moves during its general assembly to support Ukraine.

The IMO concluded its bi-annual general assembly of members from around the world taking steps that Zelenskyy called the “appropriate decision” to support their efforts in the long struggle against Russia. In his daily update to the nation, Zelenskyy highlighted the importance of the exports not only for creating jobs in the port cities, on the railroad, and for farmers, but also the vital contribution to the country’s economy. Ukraine is earning critical Western currency through the exports and the president called attention to the “millions of jobs in Ukraine that depend on exports.”

He took pleasure in reporting to the citizens of Ukraine that the IMO General Assembly had not reelected Russia or as the president said “last week removed Russia from its governing bodies.” Zelenskyy also called out the positive actions to support Ukraine as they would contribute to maintaining and building the exports and rebuilding its ports after Russia attacked the infrastructure.

“It is very important that the international community supported Ukraine’s call – Russia does not belong in the governing bodies of international organizations,” said Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister for the Restoration of Ukraine. ”So, the IMO Council will work without the aggressor state, and its impact on the formation of international maritime policy is minimized.”

Among the specific steps taken by the IMO General Assembly was the adoption of a resolution condemning Russia’s “interference” with shipping on the Black Sea. The resolution also cites Russia’s “illegal seizure” of maritime and port infrastructure in the occupied territories and the interference of shipping from the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.

The IMO is also following the lead of the European Union with both organizations pledging support to help Ukraine to restore infrastructure and maintain its ports and their operations. The IMO resolution commits to technical support including undertaking an assessment of the support Ukraine requires for the operation of the ports and shipping corridor.  

Welcoming the efforts and future support, Ukraine also called attention to its success with limited support from the West. As of December 4, the Ministry for Restoration highlights that 200 ships have now departed Ukraine’s three main ports on the Black Sea, Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi. Exports they calculated totaled seven million tons, including five million tons of agricultural products. They also said that 226 ships have entered Ukraine’s ports with 31 loading as of the report and another 30 following the corridor in both directions.

While shipping is playing a key role in Ukraine’s exports, President Zelenskyy also praised the efforts of the state railways. He reported during November they set a new record by moving 14 million tonnes of cargo, the highest monthly level since the Russian invasion began 21 months ago.

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