Spain launches project to import Ukrainian grain by train – Economy – War in Ukraine

Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez. PA

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February severely disrupted Ukrainian grain exports, hampering harvests and trapping up to 25 million tonnes of wheat and other grains in Kyiv’s Black Sea ports.

The war has driven up global food prices and sparked fears of famine.

As part of the Spanish project, a Renfe freight train “consisting of 25 containers each measuring 12 meters (40ft)” left Madrid on Tuesday evening for the Polish town of Chelm near the Ukrainian border, the transport ministry said.

He will travel 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) to Chelm where he will collect 600 tonnes of grain and return to Barcelona in early September.

“This is a pilot project (…) to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of transporting grain via the rail network crossing Europe from Lodz in Poland to Barcelona,” the ministry said in a statement.

The containers were fitted with special liners to allow them to carry grain, the ministry said.

On July 22, Russia and Ukraine signed a UN-backed and Turkish-brokered agreement to lift the naval blockade of Moscow and release millions of tonnes of blocked grain, helping to avert a global food crisis.

A total of 12 ships have so far left three different Ukrainian Black Sea ports since then.

With the reopening, the Spanish project will also “analyze the capacity of land transport to support maritime routes”, the ministry said.

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