Lifting the blockade of Ukraine’s seaports will speed up the recovery of the country’s economy and enable it to earn an additional USD 18 billion in foreign exchange.

The Ukrainian Federation of Employers said this in a statement, the CFTS portal reports.

Ukrainian seaports’ cargo turnover fell by 60% in 2022 because of the blockade, resulting in a drop in the country’s GDP, non-payment of taxes, and the loss of foreign-exchange earnings, the federation said in the statement. According to the federation, the country will generate 135 billion in additional tax revenues per year and its GDP will grow by 10% if the blockade of its seaports is lifted fully.

In addition, the federation believes that this will facilitate the re-creation of 0.5 million lost jobs.

According to the federation, lifting the blockade of the country’s seaports will enable the seaports and logistics operators to operate at full capacity and allow the lifting of the restrictions on and the reduction of the cost of logistics in the agricultural industry, the resumption of the export of chemical products, and the increase of the export of non-ferrous metallurgical products.

In February 2022, the Russian Federation declared the northwestern part of the Black Sea an area of "special military operation," thus blocking Ukraine’s maritime logistics in violation of nine international maritime conventions. By blocking sea lanes, Russia made freedom of navigation in these areas and the ability of ships to enter Ukraine’s seaports freely, especially in the Sea of Azov, practically impossible, which directly violates the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In addition, the Russian Federation is restricting the export of agricultural products under the "grain agreement" (the Black Sea Grain Initiative that established a humanitarian maritime corridor to allow ships to export grain and other foodstuffs from Ukraine) by delaying the inspection of ships in the Bosporus.

Ukraine has repeatedly demanded the restoration of free commercial shipping in the Black Sea. The process of negotiations with the partners in the Black Sea Grain Initiative (the United Nations and Turkey) regarding the period of the initiative and the terms of its extension began long before 18 March, when the Black Sea Grain Initiative was due to expire. Ukraine aimed to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative for at least one year.

Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Community Development, Territories, and Infrastructure Yurii Vaskov has noted that the availability of Ukrainian grain on global markets affects prices and ensures global food security.

"We draw the international community’s attention to the fact that the blocking of commercial shipping, even in wartime, grossly violates the international conventions to which Ukraine is also a party. We once again call on the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, which is the guarantor of global shipping safety, to do everything possible to reopen the Black Sea to commercial shipping," he said.

In addition, Ukrainian businesses and authorities have emphasized that it is critical not only to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative under the existing terms, but also to reopen the Black Sea to commercial shipping fully.

Russia continues to earn money and strengthen its economy while conducting a full-scale war against Ukraine, which enables it to strengthen its economy and thus continue to finance the war. This situation is unfair. "I believe that the rules of the game should be the same for all players. Is shipping free for everyone or are the requirements—inspections, the special procedure for registering ships, equal participation of representatives of all the countries in this bureaucracy—the same for everyone?" said Andrii Stavnytser, the CEO of the TIS group of terminals.