Cargo at Mariupol seaport, an indicator of Russia’s chokehold on the Azov, increased by 3.5% in January-April 2021,

 compared with volumes of the same period last year. In April, Russia strengthened its naval presence in the Azov and Black Seas, banning non-Russian government vessels from entering the Azov, a bi-national body of water. Despite the intimidation, exports out of Mariupol – largely steel and iron ore – increased by 17%, to 1.84 million tons. Last year, cargo volumes increased by 8.4% at Mariupol, Ukraine’s main port on the Azov.

Ukraine’s seaports handled 20.5% less cargo tonnage during the first quarter of this year than during the same January-March period last year,

 reported the Sea Ports Administration. The big factor in the drop to 33 million tons was a 37% decrease in grain export volumes, to 8.6 million tons. Ore exports were down by 12%, to 9 million tons. During the first quarter, ports handled 253,170 containers, almost a 5% yoy decrease. Despite these tonnage drops, Ukraine’s exports were up by 12% in the first quarter, to $13.75 billion.