On September 14-16, an informal meeting of the ministers of the agriculture of EU member states, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine took place in Prague, the Czech Republic, the country currently presiding over the Council of the European Union.
Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Mykola Solskyi presented a plan for expanding the cooperation of the “Paths of Solidarity” initiative during the plenary session “Ensuring food security: the role of EU agriculture and food industry in sustainable global food production”.
Minister Solskyi emphasized in his speech that the export routes of Ukrainian agricultural products through the countries of the European Union should become stable and essential.
Mykola Solsky specified the conditions and initiatives needed to implement this plan. First of all, that is the construction of terminal complexes with grain conveyors on the border with the EU countries to transport Ukrainian grain without interruption. This infrastructure will also resolve the issue with railway width difference in Ukraine and Europe. Each of the Terminals could offer transportation of up to 2 million tons of grain per year.
“Another initiative that needs to be implemented is the construction of a pipeline for the transportation of vegetable oils. The pipeline will connect the loading terminal on the territory of Ukraine and the unloading terminal in the European sea port. According to our calculations, the capacity of this means of transportation will be 2 million tons per year,” said Mykola Solskyi.
The minister informed his colleagues that this project is already underway since the Memorandum on the construction of the pipeline has been signed with our Polish colleagues last week.
“Lack of sufficient amount of railway rolling stock in the EU countries that can be used for grain transportation, along with matching freight vehicles, is a substantial problem,” said the Minister, adding that 22,400 grain hoppers are used in Ukraine, while in all of the EU countries combined, the number is around 12,000 grain hoppers. Should the number of grain hoppers be increased by 3,640 units, and number of freight trucks increased by 6,000 units, additional 10 million tons of grain crops can be transported on a yearly basis.
It is also necessary to allocate railway routes for Ukrainian grain carriages with modified bogies in order to match the European railway tracks whilst travelling through Poland and Germany to the Polish port of Gdańsk, Rostock port and Hamburg port in Germany, said Mykola Solskyi.
The minister appealed to his European colleagues for assistance in the implementation of new export routes, because the food security of the whole world depends on them. In particular, Mykola Solskyi proposed to define possible routes and schedules for running of Ukrainian grain hoppers across the territories of Poland and Germany, and asked to provide subsidies of up to 50% for the manufacturing of freight vehicles and railway rolling stock used in grain transportation, as well as the financial support from the EU for the construction of a complex of terminals and a pipeline for vegetable oil and grain crops loading terminals.