Latvia could begin Ukrainian grain exports in autumn -Latvian Railways

VILNIUS (Reuters) – EU member Latvia could begin exporting Ukrainian grain through its ports this autumn, with volumes possibly reaching a million metric tonnes per year, the chairman of Latvian Railways’ board said in Tuesday.

“Right now, an opportunity has appeared for Ukrainian grain transportation,” Rinalds Plavnieks told Latvia’s public broadcaster.

The grain would need to be shipped through Poland, which uses a different rail gauge to Latvia and Ukraine, necessitating two changes, which adds to costs.

“We see that around 500,000 to a million tons a year could be transported via this transit corridor,” Plavnieks added.

Moscow has withdrawn from a deal to allow Black Sea exports of grain from Ukraine, one of the world’s top exporters, and has been attacking its agricultural and port infrastructure.

Last month Lithuania asked the European Commission to develop a route for Ukrainian grain through five ports in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, according to a letter seen by Reuters. The five ports have a combined annual grain export capacity of 25 million tons, the letter said.

(Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; editing by Jason Neely)