The Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure is beginning the preparation of a financial agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) on repair and modernization of the Dnipro Cascade of hydroelectric dams’ shipping locks.

As the CFTS correspondent reports, Minister of Infrastructure Vladyslav Kryklii announced this at the “Ukraine at 30” national forum.

“We are beginning the preparation of a financial agreement on upgrade of the Dnipro cascade in 2021 based on the outcome of negotiations with the EIB and with its support. Ukraine is a maritime and riverine nation, and we must prove this by upgrading and modernizing our system of locks,” Kryklii said.

The 1 million tons of cargo that will be switched from roads to the river is expected to create UAH 250 million in savings on road rehabilitation, he said.

The minister of infrastructure also stressed that the legislative framework for the operation of inland waterways has already been adopted.

"This year is a preparatory year for us, during which we must create a special fund for supporting and developing our Dnipro cascade to ensure that funding for it does not depend on individual budget items, that money is generated into this special fund, and that it is a protected item," Kryklii said.

As the CFTS portal reported, the Cabinet of Ministers proposed in September last year that the parliament allocate UAH 39 million for ensuring the operational safety of the shipping locks in the state budget for 2021. This amount was intended for facilitating the passage of 21,600 ships through the locks. UAH 39 million is the standard amount that has been allocated for financing the operations of the Ukrvodshliakh state waterways enterprise’s system for many years, but it does not take account of the cost of repairing the locks.

According to the 2019 report of Ukrvodshliakh, which performs all the work necessary for safe navigation on public waterways, the current technical condition of the Dnipro cascade’s structures, their technological equipment, and the hydraulic structures of all the locks is assessed as "unsuitable for normal operation" or "in critical condition." The entire cycle of work necessary for overhaul or modernization of all the Dnipro cascade’s existing locks could cost between USD 20 million and USD 40 million and take five years to complete.