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Opinions & Interviews

3 Oct 2019

Belarus’ interest in resuming navigation along Dnieper River emphasized

Belarus’ interest in resuming navigation along Dnieper River emphasized

ZHITOMIR, 3 October (BelTA) – Navigation along the Dnieper River was a good project. It is necessary to revive this tradition. Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Igor Lyashenko made the relevant statement at a meeting of heads of regional administrations of Belarus and Ukraine in the Ukrainian city of Zhitomir on 3 October, BelTA has learned.

The official said: “We would very much like the river transportation project, of which so much has been said, to start working at last. I know our head of state will talk about it tomorrow. Restoring navigation along the river is a good tradition. It is necessary to revive it.”

Gomel Oblast Governor Gennady Solovei also mentioned the oblast’s interest in the project. The project has been debated for almost eight years already. “It will allow substantially increasing export and import shipments between regions of Belarus and Ukraine. It is an important idea everyone will benefit from,” he stressed.

After the meeting Igor Lyashenko explained that technically the Ukrainian side can easily do all the necessary work the project requires. “Specialists estimate the Ukrainian side needs to make the river deeper by 200,000m3. An executive order from the president or the prime minister is needed for it. Once it is given, the task will be accomplished,” the deputy prime minister noted. In his words, the restoration of navigation along the Dnieper River can recoup investments within one year.

BelTA reported earlier that while meeting with representatives of Ukrainian mass media on 26 September Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that more active actions on the part of Ukraine are needed to implement the project to restore navigation along the Dnieper River. Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “As for Belarus, we’ve done everything. There was only one thing left to address (there is one thing for you to address now) – deepening of the river bed. It is necessary to make the Pripyat River and the Dnieper River deeper. We’ve undertaken to deepen the Pripyat River and we’ve done it.”

As part of the project plans were made to build a deep water port on the Dnieper River near the village of Nizhniye Zhary, Bragin District, Gomel Oblast. The place is virtually at the border with Ukraine. The river bed between the port and the Kiev water reservoir is supposed to be made deeper, too. Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “We’ve also used private investments for the project. The port is virtually ready for vessels. If we see Ukraine’s strong interest, we will add to it, we will make a port and will take care of other matters at an even higher level.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko went on saying: “I am convinced it would be a most serious impulse. More than that considering our excellent logistics on land (and not only on land) with the Baltic Sea region. We could bring freight traffic from the north along the river to the Black Sea. The logistics and transit appeal of Ukraine and Belarus is enviable. Jobs will be created. We will become even more dependent on each other. Why shouldn’t we do it?” The head of state stressed that more active actions on the part of Ukraine are needed now.

The matter of freight transportation along the Dnieper River was previously discussed repeatedly at various levels of Belarus-Ukraine contacts. In autumn 2017 the governors of Gomel Oblast and Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast and top executives of the Nikolayev-based company OOO SP Nibulon signed a trilateral memorandum of cooperation and partnership with a view to restoring navigation along the Dnieper River. Loading river-sea vessels with Belarusian cargoes for the sake of delivering them to Europe, Asia, and Africa via the Black Sea is the idea. Such vessels will not require freight transshipment in sea ports, thus greatly reducing the cost of delivery.

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