Last reviewed 5 July 2022

The war in Ukraine is not only stifling trade and logistics in that country and the Black Sea region generally, but also increasing global vessel demand and the cost of shipping around the world, according to a report produced by UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development).

In Maritime Trade Disrupted: The War in Ukraine and its Effects on Maritime Trade Logistics, UNCTAD argues that Ukraine’s trading partners now have to turn to other countries for the commodities they import.

It attributes the shipping and transport hurdles in the Black Sea region to disruptions in regional logistics, the halting of port operations in Ukraine, the destruction of important infrastructure, trade restrictions, increased insurance costs and higher fuel prices.

Shipping distances have accordingly increased, along with transit times and costs.

Daily rates for smaller-size tankers, which are key for regional oil trading in the Black Sea, Baltic Sea and Mediterranean Sea regions, have dramatically increased. The higher energy costs have also led to higher marine bunker prices, raising shipping costs for all maritime transport sectors.

UNCTAD calls for urgent action to open Ukraine’s ports to international shipping so the country’s grain can reach overseas markets, at lower shipping costs.

It calls for continued collaboration among vessel flag states, port states and other actors in the shipping industry to maintain all necessary services, including bunkering supplies, health services for sailors and certification of regulatory compliance.

The report concludes that, if global trade is to flow more smoothly, it must be ensured that Ukrainian ports are open to international shipping.