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Corn bulk ship leaves Chornomorsk port for South Korea; concerns over quality

MV Ocean Lion has sailed from Ukraine’s port of Chornomorsk early Aug. 9 destined for South Korea, bringing the total to 12 ships to leave Ukraine since Turkey and the UN brokered a deal to resume grains shipment via a humanitarian maritime corridor out of the Black Sea.

The bulk ship — the largest to have left the Black Sea since the suspension — is loaded with 65,000 mt of feed-grade corn destined for Incheon, South Korea, according to market sources. The corn was sold by Viterra to KFA Incheon before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the ship had been stranded at the port due to Russia’s naval blockade and Ukraine’s subsequent defensive mining of the waters, sources added.

Another ship, MV Rahmi Yagci, also left Chornomorsk carrying 5,300 mt of sunflower destined for Istanbul.

More than 370,000 mt of agricultural commodities had been shipped out of Ukraine since Aug. 1, according to data by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

The shipment brought some optimism to the South Korean market as it opens the window for buyers to receive cheap cargo, according to a source. However, there were concerns about the quality of corn in the ship that had been stuck for months without proper ventilation and exposed to the heat and humidity.

“For the case of Ocean Lion, there is a risk of being rejected as she was not loaded freshly recently. Part of the cargo was already loaded [prior to the invasion],” said a trader.

The aflatoxin content is an important specification requirement for corn arriving in South Korea.

“Aflatoxin is a critical toxin, if it is over 20 ppb, we cannot use it [for feed production] and will have to reject the cargo,” said a South Korean feed buyer.

Earlier, the Razoni — the first bulk ship to leave Ukraine’s deepsea ports Aug. 1 — did not arrive at Lebanon’s Tripoli port as scheduled.

The Embassy of Ukraine in Lebanon has said that “the buyer in Lebanon refused to accept the cargo due to delays in delivery terms (more than 5 months). So, the shipper is looking for another consignee to offload his cargo either in Lebanon/Tripoli or any other country/port” via a post on the embassy’s official Facebook page. The Razoni was carrying about 26,000 mt corn.

Another ship, the Bonita, is expected to leave Pivdennyi port for South Korea, according to sources. The Bonita is currently being loaded with 66,000 mt of food-grade corn after loading was suspended following the invasion, sources added.

Platts had assessed CFR corn North Asia at $330.50/mt CFR Pyeongtaek Aug. 8, data from S&P Global showed.
Source: Platts

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