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  • Construction Jumps 17%
  • Foreign Investment in Ukraine Bonds Triples
  • Rollins Out at Ukrnafta
  • Eying Foreign Miners, New Geology Service Chief Schedules Mining Auctions
  • Migration: Poland’s Gain is Ukraine’s Pain
  • Poland Worries Germany Will Open Doors to Ukrainian Workers
  • Nurses, Machinists Head West
  • Remittances Up
  • Gov’t to Business: Adapt or Die
  • Black Sea Pearl Emerges From Shell With Flights to Italy, Germany and Spain
  • Ryanair Starts Flying in June From Kharkiv and Odesa
  • Wizz Air to Fly from Kyiv to 10 German Cities
  • China’s COFCO to Double Grain Purchases from Black Sea
  • Prior to Sunday’s Vote, Zelenskiy Gets Mixed Reviews in Business Press
  • Russia Predicts Gas Transit Contract by October
  • Foreign Investors Build Solar Stations Across Ukraine
  • Polish-Ukraine Ties Grow
  • Regional Airport Action: Chernivtsi, Kramatorsk and Rivne
  • Freight Rates Go Up 14% April 1
  • Ukraine GDP up 3.3% in 2018
  • Retail Grows by Almost 7%
  • Fearing Russian Cutoff of Ukraine, Hungary Fills up Gas Tanks for Next Winter
  • EU Focuses on Road, Rail Upgrades to Mariupol
  • UIA Lost $100 million Last Year

Of good news to rural voters, hundreds of thousands of hectares of state-owned farmland will be transferred this year 141 united territorial communities, reports that Government Portal. Last year, 1.5 million hectares of state owned land were transformed to 647 of these newly formed district governments.

Across the country, construction was up 17% for the first two months of the year, compared to January-February of 2018. Driving the building were good weather in February and a whopping 41% y-o-y increase in infrastructure construction in February.

Foreign investment in Ukraine government hryvnia bonds have tripled since the start of the year, hitting 20.3 billion hryvnia, currently about $740 million. Last year, foreign investments in the bonds only increased by 22%. Foreign investors may be shrugging off the political risk of an election year or may be positioning themselves for the opening of a Clearstream link in coming months. This will allow desktop trading.

Ukraine’s government wants to reduce the country’s public debt to below 50% of GDP, writes Finance Minister Oksana Markarova. The debt was 61% of GDP at the end of last year.

Mark Rollins, the British CEO of Ukrnafta, the nation’s largest oil producer, is being let go after almost four years in the job. By terminating Rollins on April 30, Naftogaz asserts control of a company, where it controls 50% plus one share. During his tenure running Ukrnafta, Rollins turned the company into one of the top five taxpayers of the nation. But he ran afoul of Naftogaz over unpaid debts by the state oil and gas company. Responsible for two thirds of Ukraine’s oil production, Ukrnafta has 43 drilling rigs, 168 gas wells, 1,936 oil wells and 537 gas stations across Ukraine.

Topping EU aid to Ukraine, the EU is allocating €104 million to winterize apartment buildings to cut gas consumption. “This is the largest amount of existing programs being implemented by the European Union in Ukraine,” Olha Borodankova, the EU energy coordinator, said Thursday at a 3-way ceremony with Ukraine’s Energy Efficiency Fund and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. By contrast, Ukraine is budgeting €53 million for the program this year.

Companies from Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan and the US are interested in mining cobalt, lithium, manganese, nickel and niobium-tantalum in Ukraine. “Ukraine is interesting to the European Union, because today there is a supply problem of critical raw materials for the needs of industry in the EU,” says Oleg Kirilyuk, chairman of the State Geology Service. On Wednesday, the Cabinet of Ministers appointed Kyrylyuk to a five-year term as chairman of the Service, known as Gosgeonedr. On April 22, ProZorro.Sale will auction mining rights to nine deposits for beryllium, zirconium graphite, and coal.

“Turning Muslims Away, Poland Welcomes Ukrainians: Warsaw opens door to biggest recent wave of migration into the European Union,” The Wall Street Journal headlines about Ukrainians working in Poland. Reported from Warsaw, the article cites EU migration statistics indicating that Ukrainians moving to Poland account for 19% of all non-EU immigrants to the EU. Poles say Ukrainians blend in on ethnic, religious and linguistic lines. Presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko asks at last month’s Munich Security Conference: “How much time do we have to close our eyes to the fact that one million Ukrainians leave the country each year? Three, two, five years? How much creative class do we still have left before we allow them all to leave?”

 “Poland seeks to protect its Ukrainian connection” headlines Euractiv Poland. Noting job vacancies increase by 12% every quarter in Poland, reporter Michał Strzałkowski worries: “Changes concerning foreign workers that Germany wants to introduce by early 2020 are seen in Warsaw as a threat…Ukrainians will have easier access to the German labor market, where there are higher wages and more job vacancies.” The article notes that Ukrainians account for three quarters of all foreign workers registered with ZUS, Poland’s Social Insurance Institution. Noting that Poland’s economy grew by 5.1% last year, Andrzej Kubisiak, labor expert at the Polish Economic Institute, says: “If not for Ukrainians, the level of vacancies in Poland might have been a serious impediment for our economic growth.”

 Migration of Ukrainians to work abroad is the top threat facing the nation, said respondents to a poll conducted in January by Sociological Monitoring Center, Yaremenko Ukrainian Institute of Social Research, Info Sapiens and Rating Group Ukraine. Of 10,000 people polled across the nation, 55% identified labor migration as the biggest threat to Ukraine. Full-fledged war with Russia was cited by 35%.

 Remittances to Ukraine through 35 money transfer companies jumped by almost one quarter last year, to $2.3 billion, reports the National Bank of Ukraine. While this is 24% increase over 2017, it accounts for only one quarter of money sent home last year by Ukrainians abroad, according to the central bank. This year, using friends, relatives, bus drivers, banks and money transfer systems, Ukrainians are expected to send home $1 billion a month. Last year through money transfer systems, the top sources of remittances were: US – 17%; Israel – 13%; Russia – 9%; Italy – 8%; and Poland – 7%.

 Latvia, Poland and the Czech Republic are recruiting Ukrainian nurses to care for their fast aging populations. The Czech embassy in Kyiv is fast tracking work permits for nurses. In Riga, Ilze Aizsilniece, head Latvia’s Medical Association, tells The Baltic Times she advocates importing nurses from Belarus and Ukraine and teaching them ‘basic Latvian.’ In Poland, Katarzyna Kowalska of the Digital Association of Nurses, warns Gazeta Wyborcza: “Many nurses will reach retirement age in a year or two, and then things will snowball…There will be a lack that we won’t be able to fill.”

 About 20,000 rail workers – about 5% of Ukrzaliznytsia’s 400,000-strong work force – have left since 2016 to work in Central Europe, largely Poland, Yevhen Kravtsov, the railroad’s chairman, complains to reporters. Most damaging, he says, is the loss of trained machinists. Compared to other railroads in the former Soviet Union, Ukrzaliznytsia’s average salaries are: 10-15% below Kazakhstan, 20% below Belarus, and 20-25% below Russia. Last week, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan promised to raise rail worker salaries by 15%.

 Ukrainian employers should raise salaries – or risk losing their businesses, says Pavel Rozenko, a vice prime minister who once served as labor minister. “Employers and company executives must understand that today we are working on a completely open labor market, that we are competing today for labor potential not only domestically, but also with Poland, Germany, and other states, where there are even laws for attracting labor from Ukraine,” he says, reports UNIAN. “If you do not increase the real wages of your employees, then… in two or three years you will be forced to stop your business altogether, because you will not find a qualified employee.”

 Krakow joins Lodz, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw this year in programming bus and tram ticket machines to sell tickets in Ukrainian. Tomasz Kunert, spokesman for Warsaw’s Public Transport Department, tells Poland Today: “We received a signal that we should think about an additional language – Ukrainian – because there are many Ukrainian students in Warsaw, people who come to work, and it will be easier for them to buy a ticket.”

 Ukrainians accounted for 60% of the 77,200 foreigners not allowed into Poland last year, Polish Border Guard spokeswoman Agnieszka Golias tells Polskie Radio. At the land border with Ukraine, 46,700 Ukrainians were turned back, a tiny fraction of the 21.6 million border checks. Ukrainians were leaders in trying to use fake documents to enter Poland or to work there – 1,138 people. Ukrainians also accounted for 95% of cases of people detained for working illegally in Poland – 19,600.

 Ukraine should double its road border checkpoints with its four EU neighbors, Petro Tsyhykal, head of the State Border Guard Service, tells Channel 5 TV. “There only 18 — but we need almost twice as many,” he said, noting that many facilities date back to the Soviet era. He said cross border car traffic with Poland increases every year by 400,000 to 700,000 vehicles. Speaking on a TV channel controlled by President Poroshenko, he said the President is taking steps “to increase the number of staff at all checkpoints. The priority is the border with EU countries.”

 Odessa joins Ukraine’s low cost air revolution, starting flights to Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain. On April 19, Ernest Airlines launches Odessa-Rome. On June 2, SkyUp starts Odesa-Rimini. SkyUp also starts Odessa-Barcelona on May 25. On Wednesday, Ryanair announced flights from Odessa to Berlin and to three Polish cities – Katowice, Krakow, and Wroclaw. The Krakow flight starts June 16.

 With a new runway to be completed this summer, Odessa is shedding its isolation and working to catch up with Kyiv and Lviv on flights to EU cities. “Opening four new destinations is only the beginning of our cooperation with Ryanair – we are already actively working on the possibility of opening new flights to Germany, Spain, Greece and other countries,” Vyacheslav Cheglatonev, the airport’s marketing director, told reporters Wednesday. “One of our main priorities for the near future is to make trips for Odessans and residents of the south even more accessible.”

 Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, starts flying in June to Kharkiv and Odesa, expanding from its current Ukraine destinations – Kyiv Boryspil and Lviv. The expansion is cautious, catering to Poland-bound workers and students, launching flights to Krakow from Kharkiv and Odesa in mid-June. In response, discount rival Wizz Air immediately moved up the launch of its Kharkiv-Krakow flight by two months, to August 2. In October, Ryanair launches flights from Odesa to Wroclaw, Poland and from Kharkiv to Vilnius, Lithuania.

 With these new flights, and 11 new ones from Kyiv Boryspil, Ryanair will double its Ukraine routes this year to 32. Speaking in Kharkiv on Tuesday, Mikhail Kachmazhik, executive director of Ryanair Sun, the Polish unit operating the flights, said: “In 2019 we plan to connect Ukraine with 24 cities in 11 countries and transport 1.4 million passengers per year.” Kharkiv airport, serving Ukraine’s second largest city, aims to increase passenger traffic this year by 25%, to 1.2 million. This month it welcomed two other low cost airlines: SkyUp with a flight to Sharjah; and Ernest Airlines with flights to Rome and Milan Malpensa.

 With Germany’s Bundestag working on a law to allow temporary Ukrainian workers, Wizz Air is betting on Germany. On July 5, Kyiv launches flights from Kyiv Sikorsky to Leipzig, its 10th German destination from Kyiv. The other cities are: Berlin, Bremen, Cologne, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Memmingen, Nuremberg. From Kyiv, Wizz Air flies to five Polish cities: Katowice, Poznan, Warsaw-Chopin, Wroclaw, and on April 5, Krakow.

 French discount airline Aigle Azur aims to attract 10% of the 160,000 passengers now flying between Paris and Kyiv, Frantz Yvelin, the airline’s CEO, told reporters in Kyiv on Tuesday. With only UIA and Air France flying between Kyiv and Paris, Yvelin predicts the airline will expand beyond its April 18 launch with three flights a week.

 In May, regular flights are to start between Mykolaiv and Kyiv, ending a six-year gap in service, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said Tuesday in Mykolaiv. With the flight, Mykolaiv will compete with Kherson, 75 km to the south, which also has a flight to Kyiv. SkyUp airlines, which recently started regular flights from both airports to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, plans to launch regular flights from both airports to Antalya, Turkey.

 China’s COFCO plans to double its Black Sea grain purchases by 2022, Jingtao Chi, chairman of the agricultural trading group, said Tuesday in Lausanne at the FT Commodities Global Summit. COFCO plans to increase the amount of crops it buys around the world by 50%, to 60 million tons in 2022, Reuters reports. COFCO’s emergence as an international merchant challenges the ABCD quartet of Western farm commodity giants: Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus.

 Chicken exports jumped 43% in January-February y-o-y, reports the Association of Food Industry Manufacturers. Of the 69,000 tons in sales, the biggest buyers were Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and Slovakia. Last year, exports to the EU jumped by 54%, more than double the overall increase of 21%. Last year, Ukraine exported 329,000 tons of poultry meat, earning half a billion dollars.

 A four lane, 500 km divided highway connecting Mariupol, Berdyansk, Kherson and Mykolaiv, would cut today’s eight hour truck drive to five hours in the early 2020s. That vision of a modern east-west ‘autobahn’ linking Ukraine’s Azov Sea ports with Black Sea ports was presented Tuesday by Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan in Kherson. Omelyan’s goal is a feasibility study this year and construction next year.

 Russia’s Energy Ministry predicts a gas transit contract will be reached this year with Ukraine. “We expect that, to some extent, we will be able to reach an agreement with Ukraine on the transit of gas after 2019. If this does not happen in May, it will probably happen in October,” Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky told TASS in Kemerovo, a Siberian coal mining town. Fearing a deal will not be reached, Hungary and Ukraine plan to stockpile gas for next winter.

 Hungary can store all the gas it needs for next winter at five Ukrtransgaz reservoirs located within 150 km of the Hungarian border, says Ukraine’s gas transmission system operator. Last fall, Ukraine used 55% of its storage capacity to prepare for the winter heating season. This year, the remaining 14 billion cubic meters of storage space will be up for rent, the state company says in a press release. Hungary consumes 10 bcm a year and can store only 6 bcm. Ukrtransgaz says it can pump 68 million cubic meters a day to Hungary, four times the daily volume that can pass through Austria’s Baumgarten hub to Hungary.

 American, Belgian, French, Irish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian companies are building a total of seven solar plants in different districts of Zhytomyr region, reports Ihor Hundych, regional administration head.

 Canadian companies plan to break ground this spring on a major solar plant in government-controlled Luhansk. PV Solar news site has described the project as a 150 MW, US$180 million solar farm in Rubizhne, 50 km north of the front line. After meeting with Desmond Burke, director of Lugansk Solar (Canada) Inc., and David Angus, senior partner of the Capital Hill Group, Yuriy Klymenko, deputy head of regional administration, said: “The project, which will be implemented in Luhansk region with the support of Canadian companies, has strategic importance for our region.” Last month, Rada Member Hanna Hopko said the plant will be built by a Canadian consortium: Capital Hill Group, DAI, and GoldLeaf EGF.

 New York’s VR Capital Group and ICU, the Kyiv investment house, plan to put on line this year 225 MW of solar power stations, costing $180 million, Richard Deitz, VR’s founding president, tells Interfax-Ukraine. Already completed are a 64 MW plant in Kamianets-Podilskyi and a 35 MW plant in Kherson. By the end of this summer, a third project, for 127 MW, is to be ready in Mykolaiv.

 By holding online auctions for land leases, the government will force large agro businesses to pay “five times” more in rent, President Poroshenko promised Monday. Appealing to rural voters prior to Sunday’s election, Poroshenko said state land leased through electronic auctions now fetches double the rents paid for adjoining privately owned land. He also called for fixing Soviet-era irrigation systems, which now only delivery water to one third of the 2 million hectares covered.

 Polish and Ukrainian officials discuss in Warsaw today the restoration of a 90-km rail route between Khyriv, Lviv and Zagórz, Poland. A train connection between the two Carpathian foothill towns would reflect steadily growing east-west trade, tourism and labor ties between Ukraine and Poland. Zagórz is the most southeasternmost railroad hub of Polish State Railways. Noting that a new border checkpoint is to open at Nyzhankovychi, Lviv and Malhovice, Poland, Alexander Ganushin, chairman of the Lviv regional council, writes in LB.ua: “Together with our Polish colleagues, we have to look for options on how to increase the possibility of points that will unite us.”

 About 1.2 million Ukrainians now work in Poland, according to Polish Central Bank figures cited in an Associated Press feature on Ukraine’s labor migration. Monthly “average wages are about three times higher than in Ukraine, around $1,050,” according to the report from Teresin, 55 km west of Warsaw. The story features Andriy Lytvynenko, a Ukrainian war veteran who works in a supermarket warehouse where 43% of the 600 workers are Ukrainians. Lesya Benko, 25, a headset sales manager in Warsaw, tells the AP she runs into so many Ukrainians — in stores, coffee shops and offices — that sometimes “you can’t tell if you are in Ukraine or Poland.”

 Wizz Air wants to fly from EU cities to Chernivtsi, President Poroshenko said last weekend on a visit to the city, a growing tourist destination. Last year, passenger service to Chernivtsi increased by 51% to 73,075, almost entirely on the UIA flight from Kyiv Boryspil. On May 2, SkyUp starts flying from Chernivtsi to Antalya, Turkey. Poroshenko also said that Vulkan Air, a Kyiv-based cargo airline, is studying service from Chernivtsi. On Saturday, Bukovina started a weekly flight from Rivne to Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt. A weekly flight to Antalya starts in May.

 To restore air service to Donetsk region after a five-year gap, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan toured Kramatorsk airport Saturday. With a 2.5 km landing strip, the airport currently works as a military airfield for the region’s provisional capital. “Following the President’s order, I inspected Kramatorsk airport – we must renovate it and resume regular operations. Like in Mariupol,” Omelyan wrote on Facebook. State aviation safety are cautious about allowing civilian flights to Mariupol, only 30 km west of the front line. For the Azov, one alternative is the airport in Berdyansk, Zaporizhia, 100 km west of the front line. Kramatorsk is 100 km north of the front line.

 To promote cargo traffic through Ukraine’s Sea of Azov ports, Ukrzaliznytsia will offer a 20% discount on goods shipped by rail to Berdyansk and Mariupol. Due to Russian harassment of ships going to the Ukrainian, shipping volumes dropped last year. The state railroad agreed to the discount at a meeting at the Infrastructure Ministry, Alexander Barchan, director of Berdyansk seaport, tells the Center for Transporation Technologies.

 Rail cargo rates go up 14% on April 1, Ukrzaliznytsia CEO Yevhen Kravtsov writes on Facebook. The State Regulatory Service did not approve subsequent automatic hikes of 2.5%. Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy writes: “This approval is definitely positive for Ukrainian Railway, which generates all its operating profit from its cargo segment. With such rate adjustments, the company’s plan to increase profitability becomes realistic, which eases attracting new debt for the company.”

 In face of UNESCO opposition, work is suspended on a 210 meter long pedestrian-bicycle bridge joining Kyiv’s Volodymyrska Hill and Friendship of Peoples arch, reports Liga.net. Designed to be completed for the summer tourist season, the bridge now depends on talks in April between the city and a visiting UNESCO representative. One decade ago, Ukraine applied to extend World Heritage status to St. Andrew’s Church. In a February letter to the city, UNESCO reportedly asserted that it must be consulted on alterations to territories adjacent to World Heritage candidate sites. It is not known why it takes two months for a UNESCO representative to travel from Paris to Kyiv.

Ukraine’s GDP grew by 3.3% last year, the highest level since 2011, reports the State Statistics Service. This year, economists forecast Ukraine will see a fourth consecutive year of growth, although at a lower level than 2018. Forecasts are: National Bank of Ukraine + 2.5%; IMF + 2.7%; World Bank + 2.9%; Cabinet of Ministers +3%.

Main growth drivers last year were: investment +14.3%; private consumption +8.9%; agriculture +7.8%; and construction +7,2%. Laggards were: manufacturing +0.6% and exports – 1.6%. Surprising economists, economic growth accelerated in the fourth quarter to 3.5%, compared to 2.8% in the third quarter. Dragon Capital writes: “Quarterly dynamics suggest Russia’s military aggression in the Sea of Azov in Nov. 2018 and Ukraine’s ensuing temporary imposition of martial law had limited negative impact on economic activity and was fully offset by an upsurge in agricultural production.”

Retail trade grew by 6.8% in January-February y-o-y. Adjusted for inflation, the high growth areas were: Zakarpattia +15%; Kyiv +14%; Vinnytsia +10%: and Lviv +9.5%. With real salaries up 9.5%, election season pension hikes, and continued wage remittances, analysts predict that retail sales will be up 6-7% this year. Dragon Capital calls household consumption “the major driver of 2019E GDP growth of 2.5%.”

Decathlon, the world’s largest sports goods retailer, opened its first store in Ukraine, the French chain’s 50th country. The store opened Saturday at Retail Park Petrivka on Stepan Bandera Avenue, near Pochaina metro station on the Blue Line. Decathlon follows other major global retailers into Ukraine. Last year, H&M opened its first two Ukraine stores. This fall, IKEA is to open in Kyiv.

Preparing for a possible shutoff of Russian gas through Ukraine next January, Hungary and Gazprom concluded an agreement Friday to fill to capacity Hungary’s newly expanded 6.3 billion cubic meter storage reservoirs. “A situation might arise when Russia will no longer supply gas to the European continent via Ukraine — we have to prepare for this scenario,” Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s Foreign and Trade Minister, said after meeting in Moscow with Alexei Miller. “Today, the CEO of Gazprom and I have concluded an agreement that Gazprom will ensure gas supplies to Hungary, regardless of whether a transit agreement is concluded between Russia and Ukraine.”

Almost all of Russia’s gas to Central Europe goes through Ukraine in three pipelines: Friendship, Brotherhood and Soyuz. The alternative is a long, northern route: Belarus-Poland-Germany-Czech Republic-Austria. By stocking up this year, Hungary hopes to get through next winter in time for construction of a 600 km northwestern extension of TurkStream. This would bring Russian gas from Turkey through Bulgaria to Niš, Serbia. There, an existing gas line connects to Hungary. Also preparing for a Russian gas cutoff, Andriy Kobolev, CEO of Naftogaz, said last week that Ukraine will raise its gas stocks this year by 18%, to 20 billion cubic meters, to ensure supplies for next winter.

Preparing to place Eurobonds later this year, Naftogaz is posting an international tender for auditing services. Last October, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the issuance of up to $1 billion in Naftogaz Eurobonds. But in November, negative fallout from Russia’s Kerch Strait attack and the declaration of martial law prompted Ukraine’s state oil and gas company to suspend the launch. The audit is expected to cost $250,000. ProZorro will hold the auction May 29.

Hungary traded more last year with Ukraine than with Russia, Hungary’s ambassador to Ukraine tells Focus magazine. “Ukraine is our greatest neighbor,” says Amb. István Iyardto. “Despite the cool relations between the two countries, our trade turnover with Ukraine in 2018 was €4 billion.” To boost bilateral trade, Hungary is working on two north-south road projects with Zakarpattia. Hungary is paying to repair the 40 km road section from the border to Berhove and on to Mukachevo. Nearby, Hungary is completing a highway north to Ukraine’s border town of Chop. “Obviously, the Chop Bridge can not cope with the flow of traffic,” Iyardto said of the Soviet-era bridge over the Tisa River. With cargo projected to grow, Hungary is negotiating with Ukraine to build a second bridge.

The EU is prepared to help improve road and rail access to Mariupol, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said Friday after meeting with EU Ambassador to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli. With an eye to attracting financing from the European Investment Bank, the Ukrainian side will prepare feasibility studies for two upgrades. One is the 500 km east-west highway between Mariupol and the port of Mykolaiv, currently an 8-hour drive. The other is to improve the 375 km rail link between Mariupol and Zaporizhia, a 7-hour journey. Reportedly, the EU has budgeted €50 million for the work.

This year, the Infrastructure Ministry is spending €4.5 million to double the last stretch of single track on the rail line and is spending $37 million to upgrade the road to Zaporizhia. With Russian forces harassing shipping in and out of Mariupol, protesters last year demanded road repairs, calling it ‘the road of life.’

To preserve cargo flows through Mariupol and Berdyansk, Ukrzaliznytsia is preparing to offer discounts on cargo bound for Ukraine’s Sea of Azov ports. At Mariupol, the larger port, ship calls and cargo were down about 15% in January and February y-o-y. As of March 22, volumes and ship calls were same as during the first three weeks of March. Since the start of the year, Mariupol has handled 1 million tons of cargo, the port says.

UIA, Ukraine’s flag carrier, lost $100 million last year, almost nine times the net loss of 2017, Interfax-Ukraine reports, citing a filing to the National Securities and Stock Market Commission. Compared to 2017, Ukraine International Airlines performed 9% more flights – 61,500 – and carried 15% more passengers – 8 million. Seat occupancy was 81%. Transfer passengers accounted for 53%.

Expansion by low cost airlines from Kyiv to 62 European cities is driving UIA’s losses. This spring, at UIA’s Boryspil hub, newcomer SkyUp is launching flights to 13 cities, largely in Europe. By this fall, Ryanair plans to fly from Boryspil to 21 EU cities – only one year after launching flights from Ukraine. At Kyiv Sikorsky, Wizz Air adds three new cities this spring, for a total of 28 EU cities.

 

The original English version is from our partner UBN – Ukraine Business News. For more information and news archive, go to: www.ubn.news.