The secretary general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Kitack Lim, paid a working visit to the port of Odesa on 29 August. 

 The head of the IMO discussed the implementation of the initiative on the establishment of a safe maritime corridor for grain exports from Ukraine and the security challenges facing seaports and civilian vessels in the Black Sea during a meeting with Ukraine's Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov and the Ukrainian Navy’s Commander Oleksii Neizhpapa, the CFTS portal reports, citing the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure. 

"The focus of today’s conversation with the IMO secretary general is the expansion of the initiative to other categories of Ukrainian exports. At the same time, we understand that scaling up the initiative will be impossible without improving the security situation in the Black Sea. 

“We are working together to ensure that the safety of navigation under the grain export initiative is monitored by the International Maritime Organization and that any Russian provocation against civilian vessels is clearly recorded," Kubrakov said. 

He added that Lim supported the idea of scaling up the grain export initiative to include other categories of Ukrainian exports. According to him, this will facilitate not only development of Ukraine’s economy, but also stabilization of the situation on international markets. 

Asked whether it is possible to begin exporting metal products through the maritime corridor, the minister of infrastructure said in a recent interview with the Economic Pravda publication, "Theoretically, everything is possible. We are also working on it. Of course, one of the highest priorities is for the corridor to be expanded to all exports and imports that our country needs. A time will come when not only ships carrying agricultural products will pass through this corridor." 

However, Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yurii Vaskov said in an interview with the CFTS portal that there are currently no plans to export goods other than agricultural products through the safe maritime corridor for exporting grain from Ukraine. 

"The issue of exporting metals or other types of cargoes within the framework of the ‘grain export initiative’ is currently not being discussed. The author of the ‘grain export initiative’ was the UN, and the export of agricultural products was discussed within the framework of food security," Vaskov said. 

"We are certainly interested in resuming full operation of our ports, and we will initiate this at the first opportunity," he added.