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Marine cover aids Ukrainian grain exports 

Insurance has contributed to much of the Ukrainian grain harvest being exported, helping to stabilise commodity prices as global marine insurers say they will continue to support trade in the Ukraine/Black Sea area and the Red Sea.

The International Union of Marine Insurance, which represents 42 insurance associations, says hull and cargo products are being offered in the Red Sea at affordable prices and vessel owners can obtain the cover they require.

Since the closure of the Ukraine grain corridor last September, 10 million tonnes of grain has been lifted from Ukrainian ports, insured by marine underwriters for Red Sea/Suez Canal transits or the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope.

“This is despite Russia damaging Ukrainian shoreside facilities and mining local waters,” the union said. “The attacks are continuing despite military intervention but, fortunately, vessel casualties have not been catastrophic. The impact on Suez Canal transits and global supply chains are significant but this has not affected the ability of the marine insurance market to provide adequate cover.”

Meanwhile, low Panama Canal water levels are reducing daily transits to about 24 vessels from a norm of about 35, and this is expected to decrease further to 18 vessels later this month.

“There may be a shortage of delivered goods, containers out of position, gridlock at freight handling terminals, and congestion at ports,” said the union, which will publish 2023 results in September.

Past growth in global marine insurance premiums will “likely give momentum” to the results, it says.