According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, nearly 25 million tonnes of grain are stuck in Ukraine. These cannot be exported because of the naval blockade and damaged infrastructure. International organizations are therefore worried about the famine that may occur in some parts of the world, especially in the African region, because of the war.
However, it is not just in Africa; although there is no danger of famine in Europe, this situation could cause problems in the old continent too. Ukrainian maize is used throughout the EU, for example, as animal feed.
In this situation, the ÖBB Rail Cargo Group decided to transport the grain from Ukraine not only to Germany but also directly to Austria last week. The destination was the village of Aschach an der Donau in the Upper Austrian district of Eferding. Before this final stop, the train stopped in Kledering, Vienna, where it was received by Minister of Agriculture Elisabeth Köstinger, Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Chymynec, and ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä.
"We were able to make this delivery thanks to successful mediation between the companies concerned. We would like to thank everyone involved for their good cooperation, especially the ÖBB Rail Cargo Group. By facilitating deliveries through the creation of green corridors, we are helping Ukraine, which would otherwise not be able to export its goods. We are also helping to maintain the supply of agricultural raw materials and foodstuffs. Our aim is that Austria will increasingly establish itself as a hub for the supply of raw materials from Ukraine in the future."
ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä emphasizes: "The suffering of millions of Ukrainians has become a sad part of everyday life for all of us. It is all the more important to me that we as ÖBB do everything we can to help these people. For this reason, the ÖBB RCG has shown its commitment since the beginning of the war. On the one hand, we support transportation and on the other hand, we want to contribute in a small way to the economic survival of Ukraine. That is why we regularly transport grain from Ukraine to Europe and want to expand this transport even further shortly.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, ÖBB has stepped up its grain transports - especially to northern Germany. Between March and April 2022, RCG organized 30 trains with grain from Ukraine. A total of 60,000 tonnes of grain have already been transported. Since May, the number of shipments has doubled, so there are now grain trains from Ukraine to the EU every day.