Minsk Airport, which has grown through ‘sanctions busting’, declines to say how many of its passengers travel between Ukraine and Russia, reports the Center for Transportation Strategies. In October, 2015, Russia and Ukraine ended direct flights. Since then, over all traffic at Minsk Airport has grown by one third, to 4.5 million last year. The airport declined to tell the Center how many passengers fly to Minsk on the new direct flights from Lviv, Kharkiv, Odesa and Kyiv’s two airports. It does say that half of its passengers fly to Moscow and that Kyiv is the airport’s second busiest destination.
Recovering from a 2014 slump, port dredging doubled last year by the Seaports Administration’s Delta-Pilot branch. One third of the 1.3 million cubic meters of silt was dredged from Mariupol and Berdyansk, Ukraine’s two major ports on the Sea of Azov. In recent months, ship visits at both ports are down due to Russia’s policy of detaining Ukraine-bound vessels for ‘inspections.’
Testing of electric locomotives from France’s Alstom and China’s CRRC will start in coming weeks, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan tells Delo news site. Last fall, Ukrzaliznytsya started receiving diesel locomotives from a General Electric plant in Pennsylvania. In addition to performance, price and durability, the state railroad will look for supplier financing. “Financing will be external – there really is no money inside the company,” Anton Sabolevsky, UZ’s director for strategic development, tells the Center for Transportation Studies.
With last year’s 70 million ton bumper harvest overflowing silos, the government plans to spend $30 million this year to subsidize construction of 2 million tons of additional storage. In a first step, Grain Alliance, a large farming company in central Ukraine, intends to increase its elevator capacity by 40%, adding 100,000 tons, the company tells Interfax-Ukraine. Ukrzaliznytsia says it lost $18 million last year due to elevators not working on weekends.
Food exports increased by 5% last year, to a record $18.8 billion, reports the Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry. In volume terms, Ukraine’s farm production rose by 7.8%. For exports, the top three categories were: crops — 38%; oils 23%; and oilseeds 10%. The top five buyers were: India — $1.8 billion; China — $1.2 billion; the Netherlands — $1.2 billion; Spain — $1 billion; and Egypt — $890 million.
In a move toward becoming a gas trading hub in the 2020s, tariffs on entry into Ukraine’s gas transportation system were halved on Jan. 1, to $6.28 per thousand cubic meters per day. Western Ukraine has the largest underground gas storage caverns in Eastern Europe.
In a step toward closer integration with the EU gas market, a test export of 5,000 cubic meters of Ukrainian gas has been made to Slovakia, reports the Kyiv Post. In the 1970s, Soviet Ukraine was the largest gas producing region of the Soviet Union. Although the country now imports about one third of its gas needs, new production sharing agreements are designed to jump start stagnant production, returning Ukraine to gas self sufficiency in the 2020s.
Ukraine’s IT exports should double by 2025, to $8.5 billion, according to a forecast prepared by App Annie, a multinational data research company. Last year, exports grew by 25% yoy, to $4.5 billion, estimates the report, commissioned by Kyiv’s UNIT.City innovation park and Western NIS Enterprise Fund. Barely visible a decade ago, IT now is Ukraine’s fourth largest export – after agriculture, labor remittances, and metals. About 70% of the exports are computer outsourcing jobs performed in Ukraine for foreign companies.