Progress has been made on the issue of dredging River Dnieper, Minister of Infrastructure Andrii Pyvovarskyi said, the CFTS portal reports.
"We will begin dredging River Dnieper in July. The work there will last 2-3 months," said Pyvovarskyi.
According to him, some agreement has been reached with the Nibulon agricultural holding for this project. The minister declined to answer questions regarding funding, stressing that this issue was still being discussed.
Pyvovarskyi also said that he was ready to launch a river fleet under a foreign flag in Ukraine with the aim of addressing the current acute shortage of ships.
As the CFTS portal reported, Parliamentary Deputy Andrii Vadaturskyi, who is the son of the general director Nibulon, said in February that "fixers" had previously approached him with a proposal to solve the problem of dredging River Dnieper (apparently under the previous government - editor).
"There are only five kilometers [to be dredged] there. It costs USD 5 million, but discussions have been taking place for four years. It is a few months of work, and we currently operate half-empty barges because they are scraping the bottom. We have built our own fleet, created the infrastructure, but we are operating empty vessels. We were ready to do it with our own funds, but we were not allowed!" said Vadaturskyi. "They explained that it should be done by the state. But after some time a ‘fixer’ approached us with the proposal: we will do the job if you pay USD 35 million."
In an interview with the CFTS, the head of the Hermes-Trading grain trading company (which controls the Svetlovodsk river terminal), Yurii Skichko, said that discussions between market participants and the Ministry of Infrastructure regarding a guaranteed depth of 3.65 meters had been going on for several years. According to him, this depth is sufficient for safe passage of fully loaded cargo vessels and safe passage of passenger vessels.
"In fact, more than half the transport arteries of the River Dnieper do not work, which makes it impossible for a significant number of enterprises in central, eastern, and northern Ukraine to take advantage of water logistics, not to mention transit opportunities," said Skichko.
According to him, the active law stipulates that all dredging operations should be financed by the Ukrvodshlyakh state enterprise. However, the main problem of this enterprise is chronic underfunding of even its current needs, resulting in a catastrophic state of sluices and a shoaling of the river’s navigable channel.