HAMBURG (dpa-AFX) - The Hamburg-based container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd is again calling at Ukraine by sea. A company spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday that the shipping company has been offering a so-called feeder service through a third-party provider since the beginning of the week. As part of this service, a smaller container ship primarily transports agricultural goods such as sunflower oil and grain. The ship, which has a capacity of 1100 standard containers (TEU), runs every five days between Constanta in Romania and the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Chornomorsk. The NDR had previously reported.

The Hapag-Lloyd spokeswoman emphasized: "We have never stopped offering a service, but now we are back on the sea route." Since Russia's attack on Ukraine, many ports are only accessible to a limited extent or not at all. Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin initially had the ports blocked for months. The export of agricultural goods was then temporarily guaranteed with the help of an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. However, Moscow allowed this to expire in summer 2023. Overland export routes are also being used.

Since last August, Kiev has independently designated a corridor for the safe passage of merchant ships. Since then, Russia has repeatedly attacked port facilities with missiles and drones. However, the Ukrainian army has so far successfully kept Russian ships at bay with naval drones and anti-ship missiles. According to Ukraine, it was able to export almost 15 million tons of goods via the Black Sea in the last five months of last year. A total of 469 freighters called at the three Black Sea ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdenny.

However, Ukrainian export volumes are still far below those before the start of the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022. In 2021, more than 100 million tons were exported via all Ukrainian seaports. However, the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov are now occupied by Russian troops./klm/DP/jha