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A record rush in the transshipment of metal products exceeded losses from the grain decrease, the results of cargo handling in Odesa port for 5 months of 2020

According to the updated information of the Economics Service of the Odesa branch of the State Enterprise ‘Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority’ (OB SE ‘USPA’), this year, in January-May, the stevedore companies of the port provided transshipment in total 10449.8 thousand tons, which is 324.5 thousand tons or 3.2% more than the same indicator in 2019. The dynamics of bulk cargo transshipment for the main items of the nomenclature in the reporting period is generally positive, excluding grain, and looks in the following way:

- grain in bulk: 3 590.1 thousand tons (- 457.3 thousand tons compared to the same period in 2019);

- metal products: 2 511.5 thousand tons (+ 608.6 thousand tons);

- containers in tons: 3 312.2 thousand tons (+ 96.2 thousand tons);

- containers in TEU: 271.869 TEU (+ 21,924 TEU)

- bulk cargo: 780.8 thousand tons (+ 158.6 thousand tons).


Concluding the results of the cargo transshipment for 5 months of this year, specialists of the OB SE ‘USPA’ emphasize several trends that appeared in the spring months.


So, the most dramatic and positive event for the port was a rush in volumes of receipt and dispatch of metal products. In particular, as reported, in May, a record of recent years in terms of monthly transshipment of metal exports was set - 616.8 thousand tons. Experts account this for the next redistribution of the specified cargo flow between Ukrainian ports.


At the same time, the stable situation with containers, the increase in oil transshipment and the decrease in grain are due to external factors.


The port explains states that the lockdown of many industries in China caused by coronavirus quarantine did not affect the volume of container flows from this region too much, imported goods ordered before the pandemic continued to arrive in Ukraine. Besides, the same pandemic caused a slight increase in demand for Ukrainian raw materials for the food industry, which made it possible to keep export cargo flows’ indicators in containers.


The port's production performance was also affected by the rapid drop in global oil prices. Anticipating a possible ‘price rebound’ in the future, domestic oil refiners are trying to make the largest possible stock of raw materials at a favorable price. This explains the increase in the number of tankers calling, incl. those from the USA.


Specialists of the OB SE ‘USPA’ note that the flip side of the coin of the global economic crisis and the resulting drop in oil prices was the decline in global production of ethanol from corn. This factor has already led to a reduction in Ukrainian grain exports, which affected the performance of grain transshipment in the port. The trend of balancing corn prices to parity with oil prices will put pressure on the dynamics of grain transshipment in the port in the future. And, since grain accounts for 35-40% of the total port transshipment, this factor can swing the overall cargo turnover indicator in the 3-4 quarter both to the zone with the plus sign and to the zone with the minus sign.


Odesa Sea Port Authority