Igor Tkachuk: More Transparent Business Operations Are, More Investments Come

The Odessa Sea Commercial Port is capable of handling circa 50 MT of cargoes per annum. It is not easy to increase the cargo turnover, but it can be real, what the Head of the Port Authority, Igor Tkachuk, is sure about. The main components of success are transparency of work, careful scheduling and contact with the port operators.

Igor Tkachuk has been a head of the Odessa Branch of the State Enterprise “Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority” since May 2017. In the interview to the Magazine “Shipping”, the Head of the Enterprise revealed the tasks set by him for a year, current work and perspectives of the port development.

– Igor Vitaliiovych, what goals did you set for you becoming a head of the Odessa Sea Port Authority a year ago?

– The main task was to get transparency of the business operations, and, primarily, of decisions making; transparency in tenders related to procurements and contractors: expediency of orders and performance of certain works, their line, prioritising.

It was also necessary to set a relevant aspect of the port development, to give an impetus to the current processes. And, I think, we managed to do it. The index of income in the first quarter of 2018, in comparison to 2017, increased approximately by 23 % or by 94 million UAH. Deductions to the budget at all the levels were equal to 30 %, circa 9.5 million UAH.  

– What tasks did you manage to complete during a year?

– The first was to continue the construction of the Container Terminal. Let me recall that in 2014 the site of the breakwater of the container terminal on the Quarantine Mole, where the SE “CTO” works, changed its specified position and was deformed. The court proceedings caused the project to be frozen. After 4 years of delay, the construction works were continued finally. We have already restarted our work, supplied the machinery.

The adequate exploitation of the Quarantine Mole will allow increasing the number of ship entries, container handlings. If now the port handles 600 TEU, then we will be able to get to 1 million 200 thousand eventually. It is a quite serious potential capacity. It is planned to attract investments of 5 billion UAH therefor.

– What other projects are also planned to be implemented?

– Reconstruction of Berth 7. The company-contractor was chosen by tendering via the system “Prozorro”, what made it possible to save considerable amounts of money – circa 50 million UAH. At present, the ground works are performed at the   site – more than 40 piles have been driven. I want to emphasise that in such a manner we will reconstruct the berth and perform dredging works. The depth according to the specification is 11.5 m, and we are going to increase it up to 13.5 m for accommodating vessels with a capacity of up to 70 thousand tons.

There is another object – to complete the construction of berth 1-з on Androsivskyi Mole. The port operator, Brooklyn-Kiev, LLC, will tranship grains on this berth.

By the way, Novotech-Terninal Company, which operates at the port on berths 25 and 26, primarily put the grain complex with a volume of 48 thousand tons into service. Plus, increase by 24 thousand tons is planned for the autumn in a current year. We have discussed all the terms and strictly follow the schedule.

– “A weak link in the chain” of the port operations is mains. What stage is their reconstruction at?

– Reconstruction of the main lines goes at full speed. Let me point it out that one of the stages of reconstruction of the second port lines – overpass, which joins the area of Red Warehouses with the core of the Quarantine Mole, was finished in December last year. Today, we are adjusting the first port lines in the cold store area of the port.

The roads in the Port of Odessa shall conform to the European standards and requirements. The task is not just to surface the road section, but to make it safe.

– What changes have occurred in the port functioning for a year?

– The resolution passed by the Committee of Ministers on reducing net profits of the state-owned enterprise became an important point for the port industry development. It means that a substantial portion of profits of the authority could be assigned to the management of capital investments and raise in the employees` salary. We have also introduced two full-time positions, and their activity pays off. These positions are such as Anti-Corruption Manager and Deputy Security Manager. Due to close cooperation with the Police, National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, Security Service of Ukraine and State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, all legal offences detected are immediately investigated, and those responsible are punished.

Within our cooperation, the tanker “Engineer Valchuk” has been returned to the port waters. Furthermore, we are working on other legal matters. In particular, we are taking efforts to get back the vessel “Ruta”, which is detained for smuggling in Libya.

In general, five port meetings have been held for a year, in the course of which 34 decisions were made. I also initiated the managers` accountability to the port business and board. Recently I have presented the information about the work done for a calendar year, and everyone has valued our team`s performance on all hands.

More transparent business operations are, more investments come. And it means that the enterprise will grow.

– In 2017, the Port of Odessa transhipped 24 million tons of cargoes. Which cargo turnover reduced, and which one increased, and why?

– Sure thing that the metal cargo turnover reduced. It is directly related to the fact that there were no cargoes received from the territories currently occupied. Nevertheless, we make every effort to increase the turnover volume. Basically, that is why we are engaged in reconstructing the lines, solving the problem of railway tracks.

I would like to mention that the container turnover has increased and keeps increasing. As I said before, we are aimed at handling 1 million 200 thousand containers annually.

– What transhipment indices are expected in the first half-year of a current year?

– We have operational figures for 4 months. Our volumes in few groups of cargo decreased, but the containerized cargo transhipment has significantly grown today. Besides, we created a working team that holds meeting at present with every stevedore in the matter of increasing the cargo turnover volume at the Port of Odessa.

It should be pointed out that many stevedoring companies work actively on increasing their own indices, so we will substantively talk about the outcomes in the course of further meetings. And then it will be possible to present figures. I am a supporter of using facts.

– The Port of Odessa, like SE, does not have its own stevedoring activities. Is it good or bad?

– It is an established historical tradition that the Port of Odessa is not on the list of stevedoring companies. Is it bad or good? I personally think that business should be private. The private business operates faster and more promptly reacts to all the market changes, what is resulted in a successful work of the company and port.

– Concerning the current projects. What about the seaport building reconstruction?

– The works on the façade of the seaport building will be completed at the end of this or early next month, in accordance with the terms agreed.

We also expect to reconstruct the concert and exhibition hall. Working there is pretty serious as it is associated with the foundation and coverings, demolishing the underground structures, ventilations, exhausts, repairing the premises for border guards. It is about 50% of repair works that are out of sight of an ordinary guy, but are highly important.

Then, reconstructing the area in front of the building, changing the coverings, constructing one bay more for the public transport, creating a place for a comfortable rest of Odessa locals and city guests.

Particularly, we are going to solve the problems of the hotel complex “Odessa”. Let me remind you that the Law on small privatization was adopted on   3rd March, 2018, which makes it possible to attract investors.

We are also reviewing the project about a foot bridge, which can join the Prymorskyi Boulevard with the seaport building on the side of Potemkin Stairs. This project is to be implemented by considering the fact that it is very important to not ruin the sight of the stairs themselves and the whole historical place, its architecture. Nowadays, we have circa 8-10 engineering designs, and we are going to bring them up for public discussion.

– Igor Vitaliiovych, how do you see the Port of Odessa in 5 years?

– The port development considerably depends on political and economic situations. The future of the port also depends on the road infrastructure and, obviously, on the car spotting. At present, we do handle 700 rail cars a day, but we can handle 1,500.

The terminals have a potential capacity to handle 50 million tons of cargoes per annum. Therefore, there`s still something to strive for, to work on. Our efforts are targeted at increasing the cargo turnover, which is directly related to transparency of operations of all the services – customs, border guards, ecologists. I am definitely sure that the cargo transhipment volumes are to increase in the next 5 years at the Port of Odessa, and they are to become larger every year.

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