On Wednesday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced that his country inaugurated an Istanbul-based joint coordination center to monitor the implementation of the grain shipment from Ukraine.
Ukraine Plans to Start Grain Exports via Seaports This Week
Located inside the compound of a military university in the city's European side district of Besiktas, the center consists of 20 representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, five from each party. This will guarantee the safe passage of vessels from Ukrainian ports through the Black Sea and the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul to global markets.
"This center will register and follow the commercial ships that will be included in the initiative. It will technically track the journey of the ships through satellite, internet, and other means of communication," Akar said, adding that "if there is a need for demining, plans agreed by all parties would be made. However, there is no need at this stage."
Ships will be inspected by joint inspection teams at locations deemed appropriate upon loading at Ukrainian ports and arrival at ports in Türkiye. Preparation is being made for the first grain-laden ship to leave the Ukrainian ports.
"We believe that the work to be carried out through the Joint Coordination Center will make significant contributions to overcoming the food crisis affecting the whole world and reduction in prices," Akar said, adding that over 25 million tonnes of grain are waiting at Ukrainian ports to be delivered through the safe corridor to the countries in need.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed respectively by Russia and Ukraine with Türkiye under the UN auspices on Friday in Istanbul, would allow significant volumes of food and fertilizer exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, namely Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.
Ukraine is among the world's leading grain exporters, supplying over 45 million tonnes annually to the global market, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FA0).