The initiative, in which Poland, Luxembourg and France participate, will be launched on July 15 and is part of the measures to deal with the world food crisis
Spain will participate with Poland, Luxembourg and France in an initiative to remove 8,000 tons of grain from Ukraine through a railway corridor that will link Poznan (Poland) with the Mediterranean ports of Tarragona, Barcelona or Cartagena, according to sources from the Spanish government. The idea is that the Ukrainian trains, which use a different gauge, arrive at the Polish border with the grain that would later be unloaded and transferred to other trains that, after crossing Poland, Germany, Luxembourg and France, would arrive at the Spanish Mediterranean ports where the cereal would be stored in silos for later export to the countries of North Africa and the Maghreb.
The public-private project will start on July 15 and was presented this past Thursday by the Spanish president, Pedro Sanchezto the other European leaders during a debate on Ukraine and on measures to fight against world food crisis that is causing the blockade of 20 million tons of grain in the Ukrainian port of Odessa. A cereal that has been blocked since the beginning of the Russian invasion which, despite pressure and appeals from the EU and the United Nations, still does not facilitate exit through the Black Sea ports.
600 tons in July
In the initiative, coordinated by Spain and the Ministry of Transport, several railway companies will participate, such as the French SNCF or RENFE, which will supply the railways, locomotives and containers that will take six days to reach their destination. As the same sources have explained, the objective is to get 600 tons in the month of July although shipments are expected to increase from August to 8,000 tons during the first three months of operation of the initiative.
From here on, the idea is to continue extracting grain based on the needs and the decision of Ukraine. “It is an important contribution that Spain wants to make to a very complicated situation & rdquor ;, they have explained from the Spanish Executive about a very limited contribution taking into account the enormous amount of grain blocked in the country. So far the Ukrainian government has established two routes for exporting grain through Poland and Romania, which involves moving the grain from the train to the ship across the Danube River to later ship it at the port of Constanta, on the Black Sea. All this, however, is a complex and very expensive process.
Just four days ago the head of European diplomacy, Joseph Borrell, accused Russia of committing a “war crime & rdquor; for blocking the export of millions of tons of grain from Ukraine. “When more than 20 million grains are blocked in silos in Ukraine and someone prevents that food from reaching consumers. This has a price. There are people who are going to be hungry. It is a deliberate act to use food, grain in this case, as a weapon of war. A deliberate act to create a famine in the world, to put pressure on the world level, on the EU and on Ukraine. It is what is happening & rdquor ;, she lamented.
Brussels has spent a week looking for alternatives and solutions to avoid the Kremlin’s veto that it considers could cause a “famine” in Africa. “It is necessary to remove 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine in less than three months & rdquor ;, said in early May the transport commissioner, Adina Valean. According to figures from Brussels, under normal circumstances Ukraine exports 75% of its cereal production, which generates 20% of its annual export earnings. Before the war, Ukraine’s Black Sea ports were responsible for 90% of its grain and oilseed exports.