In addition to the obvious humanitarian and military theme, the war in Ukraine also contains another, delicate and particularly significant one, under the heading of trade & geopolitical routes : the port of Odessa (after the Strait of Malacca) . If the city definitively fell into Russian hands, the concrete possibility of a greater and more intense presence in those waters of the Soviet navy would open up. At that point the Montreux Convention , which aims to regulate navigation through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, would be subjected to not a few geopolitical and military pressures. Odessa
The port has eight cargo handling complexes, with a capacity of over 500 thousand TEUs and 54 berths for a total of nine thousand meters that can accommodate ships of 100 thousand tons. A series of highly strategic products such as gas, metals, raw sugar, wheat, paper pass through it. Cargoes of oil are moved through specialized pipelines (and are served by tanks with a capacity of 245,000 cubic meters of oil and 112,000 cubic meters of diesel). Next to them there is the gas terminal capable of hosting 700 thousand tons of condensed gas per year.
Last July, the state-owned company that manages the port, the “ Odessa Sea Commercial Port“, Recorded good economic performances thanks to a series of ad hoc moves: the introduction of a prudent tariff policy, the attraction of new customers, the reduction of company costs and the modernization of equipment. It closes
Since last February 24, due to martial law, the Odessa Brooklyn-Kiev container terminal has been closed, which handled 280,680 TEUs in 2021 and this year is expected to increase to 280,000. The war in that airport has already disrupted trade routes and could do worse in the coming weeks. Maersk has suspended all calls for ships in Odessa and has stopped accepting orders to and from Ukraine, turning to other ports such as Korfezin Turkey and Port Said in Egypt. Ditto for giants like CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co. Hapag-Lloyd has closed its Odessa office.
It is clear that carriers must, on the one hand, guarantee the supply chain of customers, and on the other hand, write down a business continuity strategy.
In a context of persistent tensions on global logistics chains, we have decided to allocate dedicated capacity on board our vessels to SMEs in the markets where tensions are highest at a negotiated rate usually only available with much larger volume commitments.
– Rodolphe Saade (@RodolpheSaade) March 4, 2022 Ankara
Turkey will face enormous challenges in maintaining a balance in its relations with Russia and Ukraine after launching, over the past year, a broad campaign to repair its diplomatic relations with a number of players from the likes of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia. , Armenia, Israel and Greece. A completely Russian-driven Ukraine, with Odessa in the hands of Putin, would also represent an additional problem for Turkey (and for NATO ) which would therefore have a totally invasive subject well planted on the northern shore of the Black Sea, with all that it follows from Erdogan’s choices. In that case, the naval base in Sevastopol would be strengthened, controlling a third of world grain exports and playing a decisive hand at the table ofoil and gas. Montreux Convention
The pressures on the Bosphorus and Derdanelli, at that point, could multiply and turn into precise requests that would impact on NATO’s response strategy. If three weeks ago the Turkish president Recep Erdogan , precisely by virtue of the Montreux Convention , said “kindly no” to Moscow’s request to let some Russian frigates pass, in the near future he could suffer constant pressure from the Navy of the Russian Federation. In tandem with the straits in question, there would be the question linked to the Syrian dossierwhich is still unresolved and where the Russian and Turkish offshoots are only apparently calmed by other dossiers, at this moment, more urgent.
(Photo: Odessa port on Flickr)

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