MOSCOW/CHICAGO, March 29 (Reuters) – Cargill said on Wednesday it would take a further step back from the Russian market by stopping handling Russian grain from its export terminal from July, although its shipping unit will continue to carry grain from Russian ports.
Most international grain traders have stopped new investment in Russia since last year following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine but continued exporting Russian wheat.
“As grain export-related challenges continue to mount, Cargill will stop elevating Russian grain for export in July 2023 after the completion of the 2022-2023 season,” the company said in an emailed statement.
Elevating refers to the lifting of grain into export vessels.
Cargill, which owns a stake in the grain terminal in the Black sea port of Novorossiisk, did not specify if it was selling the stake.
The Russian agriculture ministry had said earlier that Cargill had informed it that it would stop its grain export activities from the start of the next season.
“The cessation of its export activities on the Russian market will not affect the volume of domestic grain shipments abroad. The company’s grain export assets will continue to operate regardless of who manages them,” the agriculture ministry told Reuters.
In addition, grain trader Vittera, part-owned by Switzerland-based mining and trading giant Glencore (GLEN.L), is planning to stop grain trading in Russia, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
A spokesperson for Vittera declined to comment but said a statement would be issued at a later stage.
Vittera and Cargill are among the largest exporters of Russian wheat.
According to RBC business daily, Cargill will export 2.2 million tonnes of Russian grain in the 2022-23 exporting season, or around 4% of Russia’s total grain exports.
Reporting by Olga Popova in Moscow, Karl Plume in Chicago and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Additional reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Writing by Sybille de La Hamaide, Editing by Jan Harvey and Josie Kao
Chicago-based senior commodities correspondent covering agricultural markets, large agribusinesses and the food supply chain and specializing in global trade, farming technology and climate change issues impacting the industry.