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A cargo ship at the Port of Mariupol, loaded with grain destined for Turkey, in the month before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

A cargo ship at the Port of Mariupol, loaded with grain destined for Turkey, in the month before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Photographer: Christopher Occhicone/Bloomberg
Business
The Big Take

The $120 Billion Global Grain Trade Is Being Redrawn by Russia's War in Ukraine

Deliveries from Ukraine and Russia, which account for about a quarter of the world’s grains trade, are becoming complicated, spurring food-security worries.

Across Ukraine’s farm belt, silos are bursting with 15 million tons of corn from the autumn harvest, most of which should have been hitting world markets.

The stockpiles — about half the corn Ukraine had been expected to export for the season — have become increasingly difficult to get to buyers, providing a glimpse into the turmoil Russia’s war has wrought in the approximately $120 billion global grains trade. Already gummed up by supply-chain bottlenecks, skyrocketing freight rates and weather events, markets are bracing for more upheavals as deliveries from Ukraine and Russia — which together account for about a quarter of the world’s grains trade — turn increasingly complicated and raise the specter of food shortages.