The event was attended by more than 130 representatives of agribusiness, industry experts, representatives of state enterprises and city executive authorities.
According to the Executive Director of Mariupol Investment Group Oleg Ivanyushenko, the main goal of the forum is to gather representatives of business and government in one place in order to show the prospects for development of the Azov region in agribusiness, and also in an open dialogue to find ways for problems solving of grain export shipments from ports of the Azov Sea which the industry will face before the new marketing year. Besides, MIG has been working over the increase of the city's investment attractiveness by gathering the industry leaders from all over Ukraine in Mariupol for the second consecutive year.
During the strategic session of the forum, the head of the expert direction of CTS, Andrei Shklyar, noted that in the short term the industry will not experience a shortage of facilities for grain transshipment in ports, but Andrei Shklyar sees a serious danger in the so-called "bottlenecks" at railway junctions of access roads to the sea ports and grain terminals. This infrastructural restriction may have a negative impact during peak export months. There is another view of this problem from the representative of the trading company UMG AGRO Valenti Selvesyuk; he believes that in the construction of new grain terminals such peculiarities as railroad approaching lines were taken into account by the designers; and the infrastructure will cope with the load even during the peak months. However, Valenti Selvesyuk predicts the intensification of competition among seaports for freight traffic. In his opinion, the rate for transshipment in the Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov may soon become even equal which will reduce the competitiveness of shallow-water ports.
The forecast for competition intensification from Valenti Selvesyuk became the leitmotif for panel discussion. Representatives of agro-companies in the Priazov region agreed that there is a need to cut costs at each link in the grain export chain. Commercial Director Zernotrans, Alexander Smirnov, talked about possible options for reducing costs on the part of carriers, and Pavel Plotnikov (Director of UTA Logistic) and Artem Mazny (Executive Director of Ukrtransagro) reported on investing in IT technologies that would allow the freight forwarder and the sea terminal to reduce their costs, thereby retaining their attractiveness for shippers.
A separate topic for discussion became the news about a possible restriction of navigation through the Kerch Strait which was caused by the construction of bridge spanning arches. Anton Shapran, Director of the Maritime Logistics, Mariupol logistic company, said that if the news for the restriction was confirmed then this would limit the possibility of the vessels’ passage with a draft of more than 10 thousand tons which are oriented in this region mainly to the port of Mariupol. Among the consequences there may be a rise in the cost of the ships charter, and one of the ways out is the alteration of the mast constructions by the shipowners.
After official reports and discussions, Artem Mazny showed the Forum’s participants the most modern terminal of the Azov Sea - Ukrtransagro. Unlike last year's excursion this time, the participants of the forum were able not only to climb to the top of the American silos CHIEF, the total capacity of a one-time storage of 48 thousand tons, but also to look at the floor warehouses the construction of which had been completed this year. "The main changes are still unavailable to the naked eye," Artem Mazny said with a smile. We are talking about the changes that have occurred in the IT infrastructure of the terminal - a virtual personal account for customers has been created, the work is underway on the integration of all links in the grain export chain into a single information field. "
"The combination of the automation of the sea terminal, floor warehouses, acheived IT solutions and the work of the staff maximally customer-oriented allows us to cope with rather unusual tasks," adds Pavel Plotnikov (UTA Logistic). In May this year UTA Logistic loaded three types of grain into one vessel simultaneously: maize, wheat and barley.
Summarizing the results of the forum, the Executive Director of the Mariupol Investment Group Oleg Ivanyushenko stressed the need for continuation of the coordination of business and government actions, positive trends in 2016 in comparison with previous years and wished success to all industry representatives in the coming marketing year.
The organizers are grateful to all the guests for their participation in the conference and to the speakers for their extensive reports, lively discussions and useful information. Thanks to you the forum is becoming more mature and covers more and more relevant for the market directions!