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AMPU berths are worn down to critical condition: 20% of them do not work

AMPU berths are worn down to critical condition: 20% of them do not work
AMPU berths are worn down to critical condition: 20% of them do not work

Of the 250 AMPU berths, with a total length of 40 km, about 50 are either decommissioned or unusable, more than 50 require immediate overhaul.

President of the Center for Agrarian Logistics and Infrastructure, Vladislav Belakh, said this while discussing the prospects of the Ukrainian economy in his blog on the Economic Truth website.

The average demolition of AMPU berths is 90%. In case of untimely carrying out of overhauls annually five to six berths can be decommissioned. The rest of the difficulty is kept in a working condition. It will end sometime. How do locomotives and repair crews end up on the railroad. You can drive a 40-year-old car, but it will fall apart, — Vladislav Belakh

According to him, before leaving the post, the head of the AMPU Rayvis Vetcahans reported that plans put in the port industry three years ago, are currently implemented only by 20%, and the capital investment in 2020 for 13 ports is only 500 million UAH. In this case, for example, reconstruction of a single pier with a length of 250 meters costs about UAH 700 million.

The government is apparently confident that the problem can be solved by "dropping" ports to dealers. Like, let the business understand itself. Will not understand. Take the high-profile Kherson port, where the concession was tried to block in court. In Kherson, the channel is 15 m deep, 7-8 m deep at the berths. In order for the port to accommodate large vessels, it is necessary to carry out both the reconstruction of the berths in an emergency condition and dredging. There are no access roads to the port — only through the city. Whatever the concessionaire comes in, he will encounter the infrastructure of the AMPU and simply withdraw his investment obligations. The situation with berths in the Black Sea port, the next applicant for a concession, is close to catastrophic — Vladislav Belakh

Read also: Corruption and criminal business: what is known about the new head of the AMPU Alexander Golodnitsky

According to Belah, the AMPU does not perform the functions assigned to the department in 2012 when it was created, when the main idea was the separation of strategic assets, such as water areas, canals, moorings and engineering networks, from stevedoring — warehouses, cranes and etc. At the time, stevedoring companies were about to concession or privatize, and the task of the AMPU was to accumulate port dues and infrastructure.

In eight years, government stevedores have in many cases become even more unprofitable. Commercialization has only recently started. The AMPU was transformed into a tribute collector and a budget donor. The state takes 90% of the profits. This goes against common sense and international conventions. If current repairs are made from gross costs, then reconstruction is from profit, — Vladislav Belakh

Belakh also criticized the new inland waterway bill we have already written about.

The government went even further. At the expense of port fees obliged to deepen rivers. Although it is obvious that the vessel entering the Nikolaev port pays for dredging in the port, but not for dredging opposite the Kiev river station. Port dues are targeted. They should be used in the port where they are charged and should not be taxed. Instead of adopting a normal law on inland waterway transport, which would spell out sources of funding for the development of river transport routes, the Cabinet acts the old convenient way of cross-subsidizing, — Vladislav Belakh

However, he said, the AMPU still has opportunities to improve the economy of the enterprise and to direct the released funds for the reconstruction of berths and other infrastructure.

It is doubtful that the new leader will be able to persuade the government to voluntarily give up almost 2 billion hryvnias of the AMPU's profits. However, there are a number of steps that can be taken even in today's realities. For example, under the old head, the staff of the central office has grown to more than 300 people. Although initially, by 2014, 100 people were handling the Crimean ports. Salary increased five to seven times. The device eats a huge amount for its maintenance: in 2019 — about 220 million UAH. Unit managers come up with different KPIs to justify the need for their positions. There are many processes that produce, develop procedures and mechanisms, which are then lowered into branches, — Vladislav Belakh

In his view, it is more beneficial to give many works to contractors than to keep bureaucratic staff and equipment.

Any tender worth more than one million is delayed indefinitely. Courts and criminal cases are bound to be mandatory, as they are public procurement. It is necessary to decide who controls and is responsible for the AMPU. An interpretative supervisory board was recruited, but he has no real authority. Then why pay enough people a lot of wages if they still decide nothing? — Vladislav Belakh

At the same time, in his opinion, it is necessary to protect the port sphere from political influence. As an example, Belakh brought the lost AMPU in the end of 2019 the court during which the office tried to force stevedor of the Nikolaev port to pay for the use of berths on the general grounds. It is worth noting that this port has a 3 million tonne grain terminal operated through a subsidiary by US grain trader Bunge, whose interests were openly lobbied by former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Jovanovich.

As a result, as of January 1, 2016, when the new rules on the use of the state port infrastructure came into force in Ukraine, and instead of the servitude contracts, the government introduced a specialized service to ensure access of the port operator to the berth, all the seaports went to work under the new rules, except for stevedores working on Bunge Nikolaev port.

Read also: Prime Minister's Advisor Yuriy Golik: regions to receive first 2.2 billion hryvnias from ERDF in April

As a result, the state-owned stevedoring company DPZKU paid $ 0.54 c each tonne of grain shipped, and the private American Bunge Company paid five cents a ton, ten times less.