Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed into law Bill “On Inland Water Transport”, which regulates legal relations in the industry.
The document defines the legal, economic and organizational basis for inland water transportation.
It regulates relations in the field of navigation on the inland waterways of Ukraine. In particular, the law lays down conditions for the operation of inland water transport and the use of inland waterways and their coastal strips for navigation. The issues of property sunk on inland waterways, liability of ship owners for violation of legislation on inland waterway transport and the like have also been fixed.
Also, the law implements the basic requirements of EU directives and regulations under the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.
On December 3, 2020 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted at the second reading a bill on inland water transport.
Head of River Transport Subcommittee at the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Infrastructure, MP Artem Kovalev, who was an ideologist and co-author of the bill, said new legislation would give start to inland water transportation reform.
“This is a large sectoral European integration law that we have been working on for the last year. This has not been done for the last 12 years. The whole industry did not have a basic law and state support, which led to the decline of river infrastructure, which was by 75% worn out,” Kovalev wrote on Facebook.
This is the first step, Kovalev said, towards an open and competitive market for freight and passenger transportation by water.
“And this is an increase in water transportation, a reduction in the cost of logistics for businesses, the development of shipbuilding, new enterprises and new jobs, Ukrainian and foreign investment, the modernization of river infrastructure,” he wrote.
The bill’s authors seek to stimulate the creation of an open and competitive market of inland water transportation.
“If we speak about indicators, this will allow us in the next three-four years increasing freight river transportation to 30 million tons per year with a direct economic effect for the state at UAH 13-16 billion ($460-566 million). In turn, this will allow for the development of related areas and businesses with a direct economic effect of UAH 17-18 billion per year,” he said.
The adoption of the bill will create up to 10,000 new jobs in the industry and increase budget revenues. In addition, it will create the necessary conditions for private investment in construction and repair of river ports, said the MP.
Moreover, the bill will stimulate the development of shipbuilding with the attraction of Ukrainian and foreign investment.
The document provides for the creation of the State Fund of Inland Waterways as part of a special fund of Ukraine’s national budget to ensure navigation.
“The planned sources for the formation of the said special fund of the national budget of Ukraine are: the percentage of excise tax on fuel produced in Ukraine, excise tax on fuel imported into the customs territory of Ukraine, customs payments transferred when ships are handled in the customs regime of temporary import with conditional partial exemption from customs payments,” the explanatory note to the draft law says.
Assets of the State Fund for Inland Waterways will be used to finance the maintenance of inland waterways to keep them navigable; construction, reconstruction, repair and maintenance of strategic infrastructure facilities for inland water transport; implementation of measures to ensure the safety of navigation on inland waterways; navigation and hydrographic support of navigation, operation, reconstruction, repair and development of the river information system; measures to develop the infrastructure of inland water transport in accordance with state programs; maintenance, reconstruction, repair, technical re-equipment and protection of navigable hydraulic structures (navigable locks), as well as covering the cost of using those structures for the passage of ships.
It also says that the main innovations included in the bill on inland water transport contribute to the integration of inland waterways into an intermodal logistics scheme, which will allow Ukraine to strengthen its competitive position in the transport system of the EU member states.
According to the memo to the bill, its adoption contributes to the development of coastal infrastructure of inland waterway transport, the improvement of the river economy, the development on a competitive basis of the market for services in the field of inland waterway transport, measures to facilitate investment, and redirection of freight flows to environmentally friendly transport. (UNIAN/Business World Magazine)