Hutchison Ports, one of the world's largest port operators, has applied to the Odesa regional department of Ukraine’s State Property Fund for permission to lease berths at the Chornomorsk seaport. The Hong Kong-based port operator intends to develop container transshipment facilities.

According to information obtained by the CFTS portal, Hutchison Ports submitted two applications to the State Property Fund: one for lease of the state-owned Chornomorsk Commercial Seaport’s assets located at the rear of the berths Nos. 1-6 and the second for lease of the berths Nos. 1-6.

Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelian confirmed this information to the CFTS correspondent in an exclusive commentary on 9 November. "Yes, Hutchison has applied, but a lease competition will still be held," Omelian said, stressing that everything would be done in accordance with the relevant procedure.

"Hutchison Ports has really been interested in developing a container business in Ukraine since 2007. After a long analysis, the Chornomorsk seaport was chosen as a possible location for the operator's facilities. Since the seaport is not using the existing container terminal for the intended purpose, the arrival of the port operator could revive the seaport and the region. The investor is interested in organization of a transparent competition for lease of terminals, for which the application to the State Property Fund of Ukraine was initiated," Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Nadia Kaznacheeva said.

As reported, the competition for lease of the Chornomorsk seaport’s berths Nos. 1-6 is planned to be held before the end of 2017. Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman issued the relevant instruction after a meeting with the management of Hutchinson Ports on August 30.

Earlier, Omelian said that the Hong Kong-based company was ready to consider a transition from lease agreements to this model of cooperation with the state following the adoption of a concession law.

Hutchison Ports UK signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chornomorsk seaport in late 2016.