With thousands and thousands of tons of grain caught in Ukraine, the “breadbasket of Europe”, a world wide food crisis looms.
Ukraine is the world’s fifth-biggest exporter of wheat, and the 3rd greatest of both of those corn and maize.
But Vladimir Putin’s blockade of the Black Sea has still left grain sitting down in silos and the United Nations warning of disaster.
The head of the UN World Foods Programme, which gets fifty percent its wheat from Ukraine, warned on Monday that 49 million men and women in 43 countries, throughout Africa, the Middle East and Asia, are “knocking on starvation’s door right now”.
In the previous 95 per cent of the critical foodstuffs exported by Ukraine have left by sea.
Talking to the Globe Economic Discussion board in Davos, Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, said Kyiv is chatting to neighbouring international locations about making use of their ports, and getting it there by train or truck.
He is also consulting with allies about the probability of location up a protected maritime corridor to get grain out.
But none of the options are effortless.
Rail and the ‘Stephenson gauge’ dilemma
There are 13 rail border crossings involving Ukraine and European nations.
Of individuals, four direct to Poland, three to Romania, and two every to Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova.
In theory, up to 50,000 tons of grain for every day could be accommodated at these crossings.
Having said that, Kyiv is at the mercy of rail gauges.
European railways primarily use the common gauge of 1,435mm, also acknowledged as the “Stephenson gauge” immediately after George Stephenson, the 19th Century “Father of Railways”.
Ukraine’s railways use the Russian 1,520mm gauge.
Supply website link