Oleg Muratov

Deputy Head of the Odesa Regional State Administration

The Shipping Magazine interviewed the Deputy Head of the Odesa Regional State Administration. We were most interested in the question of the future of Odesa ports: privatization or concession? But for the most objective assessment, we first had to find out the current state of technical, material base and cargo handling indicators of ports.

What is the current situation in the ports of Odesa region?

Let’s look at the annual report. In 2021, cargo handling in the Odesa region decreased by 5% in accordance with the last 2020 year. In January we had -25%, but gradually at the end of the year we almost reached 100%.

We have got this positive dynamics due to the implementation of investment projects, and not only by private stevedoring companies. Seaports of the Odesa region іn 2019 handled 111 million tons of cargo,

in 2020 – 113 million tons, in 2021 – 107 million tons, and this year we want to reach 115 million tons of cargo in total. The transshipment of containers in the last three years amounted over million TEU per year.

About the issue of the Quarantine Mole – it was decided that the government should fulfill its obligations to German private investors, which will attract additional container flows. Almost all the containers transshipments go through private stevedoring companies, TIS is permanently actively evolving. Although we could see that we are depend on global market trends. For example, in the difficult pandemic year of 2020, we had some profit because many countries had been «closed».

This year, for the first time, we will have large investments among state stevedoring companies, primarily – the Port of Yuzhny. The Port is actively financing the updating of material-technical base, the expansion and reconstruction of the deepest water jetties. Although we understand that we need to continue dredging work, not only in Yuzhny. Now the economy is dictating that the panamax is not enough today. There must be a completely different economy. Cargo ship cannot stay at a jetty for a week – business cannot afford this.

Almost 800 mln UAH will be invested in the Port of Yuzhny – for the modernization of transshipment complexes in the Port. Historically, the Port was aimed at iron ore export, which should not be transshipped by gantry cranes, but by using the same technologies that are currently used by TIS. This will speed up the process and reduce costs.

Regarding the Port of Chornomorsk – this is one of the ports that showed positive dynamics in 2021 + 7%. If we take the state enterprise (SE) Chornomorsk Sea Trade Port (STP) the dynamics will be negative. And the average salary of SE Chornomorsk STP is 11 000 UAH, which significantly less than in the region. For example, in the Port of Yuzhny the average salary is 25 000 + UAH.

What is the purpose of concession projects and what does await the ports of Odesa region?

About the issue of concession. From the point of view of the Odesa Regional State Administration, it is probably necessary to hand over a single property complex to the concession. Although we need to resolve the issue with the port of Odesa, with the passenger complex and the hotel «Odesa», because in this year we expect a cruise season.

By the way, on January 28, we launched the ship «Noosphere» in Antarctica, which will contribute to the development of Ukraine as a scientific country.

What about the Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky and Ust-Dunaisk seaports. They are facing difficult privatization processes, but there is no alternative. Our task is to clear the assets as much as possible before a private investor comes. It is necessary to remove arrests, resolve the issue of wage arrears, which is mostly resolved through the sale of property. The key decision about the Izmail and Reni seaports has not yet been made, because it is geopolitics. By the way, only in these ports there are directors of state enterprises, in all other heads are in the status of acting director. And this also has a negative impact on the activities of these enterprises.

What should be done to make the port more attractive to investors?

Historically, the Odesa region is a transport hub. Today the potential of the region is not fully used. There are a number of issues, both economic and political. Unfortunately, the last few years have seen a decline in transit, but the Verkhovna Rada has recently passed a law on multimodal transportation, and we hope for positive changes.

A road to the Port of Odesa is currently under construction, which will give business an alternative. The rolling stock of our railway also needs to be updated. It was on the initiative of the Head of the Odesa Regional State Administration Serhii Hrynevetskyi that this year for the first time a decision was made to update the fleet of train cars and locomotives. This will save roads. We have issued more than a dozen orders to allocate land to the road service for construction and reconstruction.

The Odesa Regional State Administration headed by Serhii Hrynevetskyi actively cooperates, both with the enterprises of a marine complex, and with the railway. Every day we provide comprehensive support. However, we always remind that the amount of profit is not the only factor in the effective operation of the enterprise. The priority factors should also be the number of workplaces and the average wage, because this is what will ensure the well-being of the people of our region in the future.

Interview conducted by Marina Samsonova


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