Efforts are being made to deliver iron ore from the port of Yuzhny to steel plants in Mariupol via cabotage routes because of the low throughput capacity of the Kamysh-Zoria-Volnovakha railway line, but bureaucratic procedures are currently hampering these efforts.

The Illich integrated iron and steel works’ General Director Yurii Zinchenko stated this on his Facebook page, the CFTS reports.

"We have not abandoned our intention to increase production at the steel plants in Mariupol, although one often gets the impression that we are the only ones with this desire. Out of the 23-24 freight trains per day that [the Ukrainian Railways’ head] Wojciech Balczun twice promised to launch through Kamysh-Zoria, a little more than 16 were launched in the period from 27 May to 15 June… To avoid reducing production and losing traditional sales markets, we are looking for all possible options for delivering raw materials to Mariupol. One option is delivery of iron ore from the Yuzhny port to the Mariupol seaport by cabotage," Zinchenko wrote.

According to him, the plant is attracting foreign vessels, which requires obtaining permits for cabotage operation from the Ministry of Infrastructure, because the number of vessels operating under the Ukrainian flag is small.

"Metinvest-Shipping submitted documents for four motor ships (Hatice C, Stevia, Copan, and ATA) back in May 19, but permits had not been obtained as of June 15. If the delay continues, we will have to reduce production due to a shortage of raw materials," Zinchenko said. In connection with this, he appealed to Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelian to assist in speeding up the issuance of permits.

The Supramax-class vessel Navios Hios delivered 52,200 tons of limestone from the UAE to the Mariupol commercial seaport for the production needs of the Illich integrated iron and steel works at the beginning of this month. This delivery was made because the Ukrainian Railways public joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia) was unable to provide the necessary throughput capacity in the Kamysh-Zoria-Volnovakha railway segment, and steel plants were forced to look for other options for supplying raw materials from distant markets.

The construction of the Rozovka-Zachatievska stretch of the Kamysh-Zoria-Volnovakha railway line was completed in late May. Ukrzaliznytsia’s Board Chairman Wojciech Balczun said at the time that the approximate volumes of transportation on this railway stretch in the near future would be about 1,600 wagons per day or 29 pairs of trains, including five passenger wagons.