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The state and business should make efforts to transform the temporary maritime corridor into a permanent one

The state and business should make efforts to transform the temporary corridor for the sea export of Ukrainian products into a permanent one, according to the CEO of the Metinvest group Yuriy Ryzhenkov. He stated this at the «Future of Ukrainian Exports» conference, organized by the «Economichna Truth» publication. It is ststed in the company’s press release.

According to him, after the first ships with steel and agricultural products left the ports of Great Odesa, cautious optimism appeared on the market regarding the possibility of a full recovery of exports.

As Yuriy Ryzhenkov noted, the recovery of sea exports is particularly important for the mining segment of the group. The impossibility of transporting iron ore raw materials by sea forced the company to significantly reduce the loading of mining and processing plants. Before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe was supplied with less than 10% of iron ore, the main volume of exports went by sea to China through the ports of Great Odesa – Chornomorsk, Odesa and Pivdenny.

«Today, our Minings are loaded by 35-40%. The plants of our colleagues work even with lower indicators. And here, there is no other way out than to open the ports of Great Odesa,» explained the CEO of Metinvest.

However, he notes that the temporary corridor is a new route that steelmakers cannot yet rely on.

«The Armed Forces, the Navy, the State Government and the Ministry of Infrastructure have been working on this issue for at least eight months. But we all still need to work on making this route one that we could count on together with the farmers,» says Yuriy Ryzhenkov.

The CEO of Metinvest also reminded that with the loss of the Mariupol steel mills, Ukraine was left with almost half of Ukrainian production and export of metal.

In total, only four steel enterprises operate in the country. The plants of the group – Kametstal and Zaporizhstal – are currently loaded at 65-75% of their capacity, and for the normal operation of steel industry, this indicator should be more than 80%. At the same time, the company completely reoriented all steel exports to the European market.

As GMK Center reported earlier, three ships left the ports of Chornomorsk and Pivdenny on October 1, 2023, with more than 127 thousand tons of export agricultural products and iron ore – bulk carriers AZARA, YING HAO 01, ENEIDA (flags of Liberia and Palau), five more new vessels were waiting for loading in the ports of Greater Odessa. According to S&P Global, the iron ore concentrate was being loaded onto the YING HAO 01, a Liberian-flagged vessel destined for China. Before the full-scale invasion, the People’s Republic of China was one of the main destinations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Also, in August-September ships Primus, Anna Theresa, Ocean Courtesy and Puma being blocked since February 24, 2022 left the ports of Odesa and Pivdenny with cargoes of iron and steel. As Metinvest noted, on board the unblocked vessels (Primus, Anna Theresa, Ocean Courtesy) there were products of Ukrainian steelmakers, produced even before the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation – more than 76 thousand tons of rolled steel produced by the Azovstal and Zaporizhstal plants , Kametstal and ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, as well as 172 thousand tons of iron ore concentrate produced at the group’s Minings.