UNITED NATIONS – Under the Black Sea Initiative, 12 vessels have been authorized to depart the Ukrainian ports, a United Nations official coordinating the grain export deal said on Wednesday.

These ships contain “over 370,000 metric tons of grain and other food stocks”, Frederick Kenney, interim coordinator for the UN at the Joint Coordination Center for the Black Sea Initiative, told a regular press briefing held at the UN headquarters in New York via video link from Istanbul, Türkiye.

The Ukraine grain export deal is off with a very good start, said Kenney, noting that a big “uptick” in applications for transit is expected.

“We still have much work ahead of us to ensure that the implementation of the initiative translates into real results to address food insecurity around the globe and to stabilize global food markets,” he said.

On July 22, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal with Türkiye and the United Nations to allow food and fertilizer exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.