The Yuzhny port authority expects the Cabinet of Ministers to approve in 2016 the revised project for dredging the Yuzhny seaport’s approach canal to 21 meters, which was suspended in 2014 because of sharp fluctuations in the exchange rate of the hryvnia national currency. The Yuzhny Port Authority’s head Maksym Shirokov announced this at a press conference, the CFTS correspondent reports.

Shirokov said that the port received the revised project for dredging the approach canal to the port’s deep-water berths Nos. 5-6 from the ChernomorNIIproekt design institute at the end of December 2015.

"The project is currently at the Ministry of Infrastructure, where it is at the final stage of approval, after which it will be sent to the relevant ministries - the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy, and the Ministry of Regional Development. In March, I expect us to go to the Cabinet of Ministers for a directive on approval of the project…" said Shirokov.

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The head of the port authority said that the increase of the canal draught to 18.5 meters (a depth 19 meters) was the first phase of the project. The second phase provides for expansion of the canal from 180 meters to 210-230 meters (in various parts) to ensure safe passage of Capesize vessels, as well as for deepening of the canal from 19 to 20 meters. The third phase provides for deepening of the canal to 21 meters.

A total of 3 million cubic meters of soil is expected to be removed. The project will cost UAH 1 billion and its implementation will take two years.

"We are not stopping. We are implementing this project in order to underline the fact that we are the deepest deepwater harbor on the Black Sea," said Shirokov.

He also said that the contract with the Moebius dredging company was terminated in 2014 because of the instability of Ukraine’s national currency. "The hryvnia fell almost three times compared with the year 2013, the import component increased, and it became unrealistic for the Moebius company to fulfill its obligations while the value of the contract remained fixed in the local currency. We separated in court normally and amicably, we terminated the contract, and the company paid the bank guarantee of about UAH 54 million in relation to the unfulfilled contractual obligations," he said.

According to him, bailiffs are currently recovering the outstanding debt (the advance payment of UAH 11 million and UAH 124 million in penalties) in accordance with the relevant court decision.

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