Volodymyr Osadchuk, the CEO of COFCO Agri Resources Ukraine.
The issue of developing Ukrainian infrastructure is now actual, and in this context, the state authorities should protect the interests of the country.
Recently, Ukraine has been trying to create an image of a reliable partner and integrate its production, finances, technologies and infrastructure into the world markets to receive investments and increase the flow of transit goods. One of the sites for demonstrating the country and its advantages is the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland.
This year, organizers of the Ukrainian House in Davos created a very interesting program of showing the country’s investment attractiveness. Attendees discussed the issues of Ukraine’s integration with the EU, infrastructure development, process and technology digitization, investment climate, economic areas, and the future place of Ukraine in the world economy.
The panel on the status and place of infrastructure in the Ukrainian economy and its integration with other markets proved to be interesting (Daniel Bilak, a Member of the Supervisory Board of UkraineInvest moderated it). Representatives of international financial and investment institutions, as well as business representatives, shared their vision for the development and analysis of Ukrainian and global infrastructure.
Infrastructure plays an important role in business chains of enterprises and the economy of Ukraine. During the years of independence, many issues regarding the maintenance and development of infrastructure have appeared. The main reason for its maximum deterioration and inefficiency in modern realities is the state control of the infrastructure basic assets and minimization of investments in the support and development of fixed assets and production items.
The current concept of creating an infrastructure hub in Ukraine for meeting own needs and transiting goods between Europe and Asia has the right to life. To make this come true, government agencies need to consolidate efforts to pass important bills concerning railway and inland waterways, revise existing tariffs and shipping charges (to bring them closer to the level of European and global ports, which will increase the competitiveness of Ukrainian ports). They need to reinvest the profit from the activities of state-owned enterprises in the support and development of the relevant branches of infrastructure. This will become possible if they adopt bills and have a clear consistent public policy to support the investment climate through a transparent and unbiased judiciary, predictable and justified tariffs for services, creating conditions for connecting to infrastructure by local authorities, facilitating rules, and controlling the pricing of connecting to infrastructure networks.
Today our company is studying the possibility of loading the container trains to China with wheat, corn and soybeans. The trains currently returning from Europe to China are mostly empty. According to our estimates, Ukraine may be crossed by 35 container trains per week with food loaded for Western China, the importing region.
The latest positive example of public authorities’ interest in infrastructure development and private investors’ involvement is the Law of Ukraine “On Concession”. Recently, they identified the winners of the concession tender for Kherson and Olbia ports. The transfer of ports and their infrastructure to concession positively affects the state, in particular, ensures guaranteed payments and taxes from the activities of these facilities, job creation, direct investment in the expansion of new stevedoring services in Ukraine.
So, there are no unsolvable problems. Nowadays, the issue of revival and development of Ukrainian infrastructure has become actual. In this context, state authorities should protect the interests of the country and closely cooperate with investors and companies interested in infrastructure development to create competitive and attractive conditions for restoring an important economic chain, establishing Ukraine as a reliable hub for storing and transporting goods by any means in terms specified by customers.