15:00 22.03.2017

Parliament send bill on inland water transport for revision

Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada has not supported at first reading bill on inland water transport and sent it for revision.

A total of 321 lawmakers backed the decision on Tuesday.

"We are convinced that the bill on inland water transport should be approved. It was several times discussed at various platforms. I repeat: Infrastructure Ministry does not want to restrict the sector. Our goal is its development. We want the development of transportation by river," Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan earlier told Interfax-Ukraine.

As reported, one of the advantages of the water transport is its carrying capacity: two barges with one tugboat carry the same amount of cargo as two locomotives and 100 wagons or 500 large trucks with grain. Fuel consumption is much less.

The Infrastructure Ministry said that for comparison in the Netherlands the share of transportation by river of total cargo transportation is 46.6%, in the United States – 40%, Romania – 29%, while in Ukraine – 3%.

The concept for developing inland water transport of Ukraine envisages the increase in the volume of commercial goods transportation by river, the creation of a stable financial and organization structure to satisfy the current needs of rivers and the needs in capital investment, and the integration of the European Union's requirements into Ukrainian legislation.

The top priority action plan for inland waterways would be bringing the sluices to the proper technical state; adoption of the basic law; creation of a stable financial mechanism; dredging of limiting sections of rivers, restoration of river infrastructure and other things.

Among key provisions is distribution of administrative and economic functions, provision for the effective maintenance of river infrastructure, provision for equal access to infrastructure, settling problems of small vessels, creation of the conditions for redistribution of cargo flows from transportation by land, growth of competitiveness of inland waterways, deregulation and relaxation of navigation supervision rules and other things.

The bill will introduce the targeted river tax, provides for opening of inland waterways for vessels with foreign flags, relaxation of supervision, financing repair of sluices thanks to power generating companies, the annulment of the fee for sluice usage, the canal fee, the fee for passing the lifting bridge girders and demonopolization of pilot services.

Nibulon company repeatedly criticized the provision of the bill. Earlier its Director General Oleksiy Vadatursky also said that the planned introduction of the single river fee would cut competitiveness of Ukrainian river transport.

Omelyan said that Nibulon does not want to establish clear rules in the river transport segment and the current situation suits the company.

"In fact they would not pay more river fees than other companies [if the bill on domestic river transport is passed]. They carry no more than 2 million out of 7 million tonnes of cargo flow," he said at a meeting with journalists in Kyiv late on Wednesday, commenting on Nibulon's critics of the bill.

The minister said that his ministry considered many issues favorably for the company, optimizing some port duties that Nibulon considered discriminative.

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