Stevedoring companies in Ukrainian ports should be privatized and equal conditions should be created for investors during competitions, Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Andrii Pyvovarskyi said in an interview with the Business Capital newspaper.
"It is a competitive activity throughout the world. If a local investor wants to invest USD 300 million in a new terminal at a port, the road is opened to him. Otherwise, this money will be sitting somewhere in Cyprus or Monaco, supporting the economy of another country. If the local investor is willing to invest, create jobs, and pay taxes, then welcome. If someone wants to ‘milk’ the port, we will not allow it," he said.
Commenting on the prospects for operation of the Yuzhny port as a concession, Pyvovarskyi said it was important not to confuse the port as a geographical location and the stevedoring company called Yuzhny Port. According to the minister, the Ministry of Infrastructure is working on a project involving granting concession on operation of the assets of this stevedoring company. "The Deloitte company should complete the valuation of its assets in mid-June. The Ernst & Young company is currently performing a financial and legal audit of Yuzhny. I very much hope that we will launch this project by the end of the summer. Indeed, Akhmetov’s Portinvest company transships a significant volume of cargo through the Yuzhny port. For the SCM group, this is a very important asset. However, this does not mean anything in the case of concession. The best will win," he said.
Among the priority tasks, the minister also listed deregulation of port operations for businesses and creation of conditions for attracting investments to ports. "We are actively inviting investors to ports. For example, the Soufflet Group of France has announced its intention to invest USD 100-200 million in the port of Ilyichevsk. We have discussed a roadmap, they should send us an official letter within the next few days, and we will launch the project. More than five potential investors are currently traveling around Ukrainian ports, exploring options for cooperation," Pyvovarskyi said.