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Second Egypt Wheat Ship Stuck in Russia Sails After 3-Week Wait

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April 23, 2024

By Abdel Latif Wahba and Áine Quinn (Bloomberg) —

An Egyptian wheat ship has been allowed to sail after waiting three weeks for the correct paperwork, as a dispute between one of Russia’s top grain traders and a local regulator continues to disrupt exports.

Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture facilitated the sailing of the Wadi Almolouk from Russian ports, the head of the country’s plant quarantine authority said. The vessel had been stuck in the Russian port of Novorossiysk, Saad Moussa added. Ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg showed the vessel sailing near Istanbul on Tuesday, en route to Egypt.

TD Rif, one of Russia’s main trading companies, has been locked in a dispute with the government, telling local media it’s facing large losses from blocked exports. That risks hampering the flow of Russian grain abroad, including to major importers like North Africa and the Middle East.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry was forced to step in earlier this month to ensure that another stuck ship was allowed to sail, after Russian authorities said it lacked the necessary paperwork. 

While the Wadi Almolouk was allowed to sail on Friday according to Egypt’s agriculture ministry, two more Egyptian ships – the Edfu and Wadi Tiba –  are still awaiting the right documents, Russia’s agricultural watchdog confirmed on Monday. Those two ships are carrying grain loaded by Rif, according to ship line-up data. 

The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Saad Moussa said the Wadi Almolouk had been allowed to sail after Egyptian officials held an urgent meeting with a delegation from the Russian Federation in Rome. “This comes within the framework of the efforts made by the state to secure Egypt’s imports of strategic goods, the forefront of which is wheat.” Moussa said.

Edfu completed loading wheat for Egypt on April 17 according to ship line-up data, while the Wadi Tiba finished loading on April 22.

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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