The amendment of the legislation on ports that provides for restoration of state seaports, which is under consideration in a parliamentary committee, will significantly worsen the investment climate in the Ukrainian maritime industry. Oleg Kutateladze, the head of Transinvestservice LLC (TIS), stated this during a meeting of representatives of private stevedoring companies, freight forwarding companies, and law firms in Odessa, the CFTS reports.

"What is being proposed to us is abolition of the Administration of Seaports of Ukraine (ASU) and a return to the system under which a seaport was actually a natural monopoly and its director combined administrative and economic functions in the hands of a single person,” he said.

Kutateladze, the head of the largest private stevedoring company in Ukraine, expressed the conviction that investment will "work" only if the administration of a seaport is not linked to a business entity. He stressed that this is how ports in all developed countries operate and that this issue has become "pivotal" in the reform of the Ukrainian port industry.

"The 2012 Law on Ports primarily gave all of us - private companies operating in seaports - a status. Who were we before 2012? Formally nobody. Today, they are proposing destroying the ASU and uniting everything under one state marine operator, to which we will all go to bow down. This is not development, it is a return to the past," said Kutateladze.

Representatives of industry associations - the Federation of Transport Industry Employers of Ukraine, the Association of Port Operators, the Transport Association, the Association of International Freight Forwarders of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Association of Container Lines - supported Kutateladze’s view, noting that it is impossible to undertake systemic changes in the industry without considering the views of private enterprises, which account for more than 80% of the country’s total cargo turnover.

The participants in the meeting intend to bring their views to the attention of members of the relevant parliamentary committee, as well as to participate in the debate on the proposed legislation if possible.

As reported, the leaderships of Ukrainian sea terminals, state shipping companies, and port operators have sent to the heads of central executive government agencies a letter in which they expressed support for continued operation of the ASU and expressed opposition to amendment of the legislation on ports, in which parliamentary deputies Kinakh, Kruhlov, Kruk, Solvar, Derevlianyi, and Barvynenko propose creating state marine operators to manage Ukraine’s seaports.