Ukraine maps out $60 billion infrastructure plan to 2030
Ukraine’s government and the European Union have drawn up a broad and bold strategy to build, upgrade, modernize and repair the country’s transport infrastructure.
The strategy, dubbed “Drive Ukraine 2030,” envisions a budget of $60 billion — half of the nation's annual gross domestic product — to be invested in a range of national projects in the next decade.
"We will develop international transport corridors, build a road network and develop railways in accordance with the strategy,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Voldymyr Omelyan said at a Jan. 31 press conference.
To better align transport networks with European neighbors, the Ukrainian government has been working closely with the EU and collaborated with several European organizations — including the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development — to formulate their plan, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on May 30, 2018.
The European Commission and the World Bank have set in motion the new Indicative Investment Action Plan for the Trans-European Transport Network, known as TENT, in order to integrate EU transport networks with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine.
TEN-T comprises 100 projects with allocated investments of almost 13 billion euros, or $14.7 billion, through 2030. Thirty-nine of these projects are for Ukraine alone, which should help make the country’s economy more competitive and create a large number of jobs.
Hugues Mingarelli, the European Union’s ambassador to Ukraine, praised the project on Jan. 18 saying that “one of the ways to promote the economic development of Ukraine is to create a sustainable and efficient transport system… (and) to improve the regulatory framework and harmonize Ukrainian legislation in the field of transport with (EU law).”
The Ukrainian government allocated Hr 50 billion, or $1.6 billion, to the State Agency of Automobile Roads of Ukraine, or Ukravtodor, for 2019. Hr 14.7 billion, or about $480 million of that amount will be allocated for the upgrading and repairing of roads, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. The overall state budget allocation for roads has increased by Hr 7.5 billion, or $245 million, in comparison to 2018.
For 2019, the main mission will be to break ground on the Go Highway corridor — a highway network stretching 1,746 kilometers from Gdansk, Poland to Odesa in Ukraine, which will link the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, and connect the Ukrainian seaports of Odesa and Mykolaiv too.
The Ukrainian government said on Jan. 14 that it had allocated Hr 4 billion, or about $150 million for the Go Highway project.
The state also plans to install Ukraine’s first automatic weighing stations on the approach roads to Kyiv. The end goal by 2030 is to build 10 new highways, install 100 automatic weighing stations, reduce the time it takes to cross the country by road by 10 hours, and improve road safety.
The Ukrainian railroad system is opening its doors to private companies in 2019, even though the rail network itself will remain state-owned.
The state railways administration Ukrzaliznytsia is to improve connections between major Ukrainian and European cities, making highspeed international train services from Kyiv, Odesa, and Lviv a top priority in 2019.
Ukrzaliznytsia will also adjust its tariffs: Freight rates are to be indexed automatically, and tariffs regrouped into categories, and standardized for both empty and loaded containers. This alone should help “increase the volume of transported goods by five million tons,” Ukrzaliznytsia’s head Yevgen Kravtsov said at a recent press conference.
The agency also plans to cooperate with Kyiv City State Administration to improve the capital’s suburban train network and modernize Kyiv’s central station.
By 2030, Ukraine plans to upgrade its entire locomotive and car fleet, increase average speeds to 150 kilometers per hour on the railways, and establish high-speed services between Kyiv and the country’s major cities — Odesa, Lviv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro.
The development of Boryspil International Airport’s Terminal F will be another top priority for the infrastructure ministry this year. The terminal’s cargo handling capacity is to be increased from 30,000 tons to 100,000 tons per year.
Terminal F is also scheduled for re-opening to passengers for low-cost airlines and charter flights in April – this, combined with the current expansion of Terminal D, should enable an additional three million passengers to fly through Boryspil, according to its general director Pavlo Ryabikin.
The ministry also says that it plans to accelerate the development of Bila Tserkva Airport, located 80 kilometers from Kyiv and 390 kilometers from Odesa. This is a joint project between the Ukrainian government and the European Commission, which is expected to start expanding the airport’s cargo handling capacity from early 2019, bringing it to 72,000 tons yearly by 2030.
In Odesa, city authorities spent Hr 922 million ($30 million) between Dec. 2017 and Jan. 2019 to modernize and expand the city’s airport. An additional Hr 758 million ($24 million) will be spent in 2019 to complete the airport expansion project.
Ukraine has set the ambitious target of having 50 airports in operation by 2030. According to the ministry, the plan is for it to take no more than an hour to travel to an airport, no matter where a person is in the country. The number of destinations reachable from Ukrainian airports is to rise to 350.
In the maritime industry, the ministry this year is focusing on the ports in Mykolaiv and Kherson. Twenty-five international and Ukrainian companies are participating in upgrading these ports, and the Infrastructure Ministry estimates that the project could attract millions of dollars once finished.
The Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority, a state enterprise managed by the Infrastructure Ministry, also wants to renovate the docks at several ports — namely Odesa, Mariupol, and Mykolayiv. In addition, the approach channels at Yuzhny and Chornomorsk ports need dredging. These five projects cost Hr 16 billion, or about $523 million.
By 2030, the government wants to "rid its ports from corruption, lower tariffs, and optimize its logistical capacities,” the Infrastructure Ministry says. It also hopes to move 30 percent of its cargo volume through the Black Sea seaports, and turn them into some of the world's largest container ports.
An old steam engine pulls a train across the Petrovski Bridge in Kyiv on Nov. 4, 2018.