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Odesa  >  News  >  Maritime Sector
Expert: Distributing national cargo-flows and axing jobs may cost Ukraine a lot
Jul 16 2009, 11:37

ODESA, JULY, 16th, 2009, CONTEXT-PRICHERNOMORIE – Professor Mikhail Postan, Head of Chair of Management and Marketing, Odesa National Maritime University believes distributing national cargo-flows and axing jobs may cost Ukraine a lot, Context-Prichernomorie correspondent reports.

Professor stated it today, 16 July, commenting on the situation with the ferry line Illichivsk-Varna.

As professor informed, last week ferry Avangard belonging to Russian ship-owners with a load of building equipment for Sofia subway made a regular trip Port-Caucasus-Varna.

It is worth special attention previously this cargo was to follow the route Illichivsk-Varna within the three-party cooperation agreement between Ukraine, Bulgaria and Georgia. It planned that later Bulgarian ferry carriers will join the Port-Caucasus – Varna line.

According to Bulgarian Ministry of Transport, the railway crossing Caucasus – Varna in 2009 will be able to operate 500 thousand tons of cargoes directly, including oil and bypassing Ukraine. It will be really soon that the equipment and materials will be supplied there for building Russian-Bulgarian energetic projects — the Belene Nuclear Power Plant, South Stream pipeline, the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline. According to their calculation the cargo flow there may rise up to 2 million tons per year.

Mr. Postan emphasized, before, for over 30 years all the shipments of the kind were carried out through the railway ferry crossing Varna-Illichivsk en route the Port of Illichivsk and Ukrzalianytsia.

Today’s situation shows Bulgaria de facto ignores the three-party agreement in the sphere of railway ferry shipment with Ukraine and Georgia. A double-party agreement on organizing a railway ferry crossing Varna-Poti/Batumi is expected to be signed soon; the project of the agreement was rendered to Georgia by Bulgarian party without notifying Ukrainian partners. This will shorten Ukraine’s transit potential by 200-300 thousand tons of cargo.

It is interesting, bearing the plans of covering the direct ferry line with Russia and Georgia bypassing Ukraine, Bulgarian party is planning to save its status quo on the line Ukraine-Georgia, when possible widening its presence at Ukrainian-Georgian transport market. Such an understanding of partnership evidently cannot suit Ukraine. As the experts say, the re-orientation of the cargo-lows bypassing Ukraine under the conditions of the crisis and total cuts of the shipments seriously impacts the interests of Ukrainian transport companies and may result in Ukraine’s both financial losses and cuts of jobs.

Such actions of Bulgarian party demand from the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Ukraine immediate consideration of the question concerning reasonability of this kind of cooperation.

It is remarkable, Bulgarian party does not conceive in the transport conflict with Ukraine arisen it will try to find support in the European Union and the World Trade Organization to exert pressure on their Ukrainian partners. As the practice in solving such disputable points with new EU member – Romania shows Ukrainian authorities often surrender in such situations, preferring flirting with the EU to protection of national economic interests. However, now the situation can and must follow another script. The railway ferry shipments on the Black Sea is the only segment of shipping, where during its independence Ukraine did not lose its positions but had significantly strengthened them, having become the regional leader. Distributing national cargo-flows and axing jobs may cost Ukraine a lot, Professor Postan summed up.

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