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Russia To Boost Grain Exports

Russia should try to export at least 20 million tonnes of grain in the 2009-10 season to match record volumes achieved in the previous season, a senior government official said Feb. 8.

“Despite an unfavourable price situation on the world markets, the volume of exports of grain last year exceeded 22.5 million tonnes,” First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov told a conference after the opening of a new grain terminal at the Black Sea port city.

According to the Agriculture Ministry’s presentation, 2009-10 grain exports are expected to be 21.5 million tonnes.

The new terminal in Tuapse was built by steel tycoon Vladimir Lisin’s Universal Cargo Logistic Holding.

Lisin owns Novolipetsk Steel, Russia’s fourth-largest steelmaker, and also controls the St. Petersburg and Taganrog sea ports.

Zubkov said the new terminal is an important step towards Russia’s goal of boosting its grain export capacity to 40 million tonnes annually in the next 10 to 15 years.

“If Ukraine, which produces some 47 million tonnes of grain, has the capacity to export 35 million, we, who produce around 100 million tonnes are only capable of exporting some 23 million tonnes. Therefore, the government cannot but applaud some projects.”

The new terminal, along with upgrades to shallow water ports such as Rostov and Taganrog, will allow Russia’s export capacity to increase by five million tonnes to 30 million tonnes this year.

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