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International conference-presentation «Practical implementation of the TRACECA and Baltic - Black Sea transport corridors» held
Initiated by the National Secretariat of TRACECA in Ukraine, Regional state administration of Odessa, Representative office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Odessa and shipping company “Ukrferry”, the international conference-presentation “Connecting networks of DFDS (Denmark) and Ukrferry (Ukraine) - Practical implementation of the TRACECA and “Baltic - Black Sea “transport corridors” was held July 8th, 2013 at Congress hall “FORUM” in Odessa. More than 60 representatives from black sea countries consulates, port administrations, railway administrations of Ukraine and Georgia, leading national and international transportation companies participated. Welcoming speeches were delivered by Deputy Chairman of Regional state administration of Odessa Petr Khlytsov, General Secretary to the intergovernmental commission of TRACECA Eduard Biryukov, authorized representative of Ministry of Foreign affairs in Odessa region Konstantin Rzhepishevsky, National Secretary of TRACECA in Ukraine Valentin Kasapchuk.
Commercial Director of Ukrferry Shipping company represented ferry services operated by the company.
Vice president of DFDS Anders Refsgaard (Denmark) represented his company which is well known in Europe. DFDS Seaways has built up Europe’s largest ferry service network and implemented most up-to-date technology and modes of operation. Despite hardships inherent to the Black Sea shipping, Mr. Refsgaard has great outlooks for developing transport corridors transiting Black Sea.
Further along, General Manager of Romcargo Maritim Ionut Monu (Romania) spoke at the conference representing his company.
Romcargo Maritim was established in 2006 in the port of Constanta with a mission to handle on-and offloading of Ro-Ro vessels, provide own storage facilities for vehicles shipped by Ro-Ro vessels and offer the associated services. Throughout this short lifespan Romcargo has become very successful in attracting and developing the cargoflows with an impressive jump from 40 thousand to more than 100 thousand vehicles handled per annum over the past few years. Mr. Monu admitted that by launching Constanta-Poti ferry service a missing link to carry vehicles from Germany to countries within Caucasus area and Central Asia has been restored. With the container services being the only way and offering a sluggish 45 day transit time to ship cargoes between Germany and countries of Caucasus before, the adjustment of Constanta-Poti ferry service schedule with that of Neuss-Constanza block-train service has made it possible to witness a glaring 15 day transit time with a corresponding slump in shipping costs.
The closing presentation was delivered by Project and Marketing Director Roman Morgenshtern who made a comparative analysis of Ro-Ro ferry services operation in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. Morgenshtern noted that there is deceptive assumption that the rates for shipping cargo by ferry in the Black Sea are very high while the carriages are very profitable for the ferry operator. By comparing Ilyichevsk-Poti (Ilyichevsk-Batumi) ferry service operated by Ukrferry and Sassnitz-Klaipeda-Ust-Luga ferry service operated by DFDS Seaways which are most identical in terms of mileage Morgenshtern revealed that as a matter of fact there exists little if any difference between the services both for shipping railway freight and lorries with somewhat higher passenger ticket cost for Illyichevsk-Poti (Ilyichevsk-Batumi) service. To show the true picture, the story was complemented by the analysis of the expenses born by ferry operators to operate to ferry the services in question. While freight proceeds from operating the services are similar Ilyichevsk-Poti ferry operator will bear more than 4 times the expenses of the Sassnitz-Klaipeda-Ust-Luga service operator for port calls within one voyage (USD 3’500 for Sassnitz-Klaipeda-Ust-Lugaservice against USD 16’000 for Ilyichevsk-Poti service). Coupled by additional expenditures resulting from time lost in awaiting a free berth or due to weather conditions (an average of 19 days per annum in the Black Sea against an average of 3 days for Baltic area where more rigid weather conditions prevail), deviation to other ports due to low quality bunkers (something Baltic area is not familiar with), the extra expenses for the Ilyichevsk-Poti (Ilyichevsk-Batumi) ferry operator to tackle amount to USD 1,4 mln per annum for the identical number of voyages performed.
The conference was concluded by signing the Agreement of Strategic Cooperation by Vice president of DFDS Seaways Anders Refsgaard and President of Ukrferry Kurlyand Alexander that is intended to strengthen and deepen cooperation and promote exchange of experience between the companies.
The signing of the agreement was followed by press-conference with management of Ukrferry replying to sharp questions coming from the mass media. For example, in reply to a question from a reputed “Ports of Ukraine“ monthly edition on whether Shipping Company Ukrferry is a monopolist President of Ukrferry Kurlyand Alexander noted that it’s a common mistake to misuse the term monopolist and leader. According to Alexander Kurlyand, an independent Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) had published a list of 12 shipping companies operating in the Black Sea area. All of them are performing in an open market. Under the circumstances, President of Ukrferry voiced his doubts that SC Ukrferry can be referred to as a monopolist. He nevertheless admitted this doesn’t prevent Ukrferry from being a leader in black sea ferry shipping which is foremost attributable to the company conducting a continuous search and offering new services that have never existed in the market before.
Following the press-conference, the participants of the conference proceeded to the 5th terminal of Commercial port of Ilyichevsk, where m/v Vilnius Seaways is berthed, for familiarization tour.
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