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2020: The worries and hopes of the Black Sea cruise industry

According to all forecasts, after an almost three-year absence of ‘white ships’, 2020 was supposed to be a breakthrough in cruise shipping of the Black Sea region and, in particular, Odesa port. Preliminary applications shows that Odesa port expected 11 calls of cruise liners. However, the coronavirus pandemic has made adjustments. The first vessel MS Albatros owned by the German company Phoenix Reisen, which was supposed to call at the port of Odesa on May 4, canceled the ship call. The company suspended all operations until May 11 of this year. The second cruise company Aegean Experience Maritime Company, whose ship Aegean Odyssey planned to visit Odesa port on May 10, has to suspend all routes until the end of May.


The cruise industry is very sensitive to any political and geopolitical changes. But, no one expected the world to be gripped by a terrible infection. The cruise business was one of the first to react to this. The current situation began with a drop in demand for all types of vouchers, revision of routes by cruise companies: ship calls to the Asian region, then to Italian ports were excluded. But, these measures were not enough soon, and then the massive closure of the cruise lines began.


The Princess Cruises company was one of the first to suffer, which had to quarantine 2 vessels: the Diamond Princess liner anchored in Japan for more than 2 weeks. The whole world was anxiously watching this vessel. Then the second vessel, Grand Princess was on demurrage at the coast of California, when the first cases were revealed on board.


The Princess Cruises immediately took measures and, since March 12, completely stopped all routes for 2 months. A similar tactic was applied by other world cruise market players. For example, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara have ceased operations worldwide since March 13th. These world-famous cruise companies plan to resume operations on May 12, 2020. Costa Cruises cease operations around the world until April 30. Fred Olsen Cruise Line stopped all ocean cruises until May 23. Silversea Cruises plans to return no earlier than May 13; TUI Cruises canceled all cruises until May 3.


Definitely, this whole difficult situation effected the cruise business in the countries of the Black Sea region. Strict quarantine measures have been introduced at every port to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.


‘For the restore of cruise shipping on the Black Sea, in 2018-2019, Odesa Sea Port Authority conducted a tremendous amount of work. In 2018, during the 52nd General Assembly of the MedCruise Association, the OB SE ‘USPA’ initiated the creation of the Black Sea working group, which included the ports of Constanta (Romania), Varna and Burgas (Bulgaria); a joint action plan was signed, and in October 2018, the first meeting of the Black Sea Working Group was held in Odesa. Representatives of the port authority took an active part in subsequent meetings of the working group, international exhibitions of the cruise industry Seatrade, meetings of the General Assembly; many complex negotiations were held with leading players of the cruise business etc. Unfortunately, all our efforts were crossed by the coronavirus that hit the world’, Ruslan Sakhautdinov, General Manager of Odesa Sea Port Authority said.


General Manager further noted that the nearest neighbors of Odesa also got refusals for cruise ship calls to ports. So, along with Odesa Romanian port of Constanta received cancellation of cruise ship calls in May this year. The port of Varna, which was preparing to receive Aegean Odyssey in May, also became a hostage of the circumstances. The Bulgarian port expects the next calls in July. Burgas will host the only cruise ship in October. In its turn, Istanbul, which was preparing to open the largest Galataport cruise terminal on the Black Sea coast in April, plans to postpone the launch of the project. In total, the new terminal of Turkey planned to be visited by 61 cruise ships. However, their number is gradually decreasing.


To conclude on a positive note, it should be said that the German company Phoenix Reisen plans two more calls of the MS Amera ship on June 11 and September 9. We hope that these calls will take place. Besides, MS Amera was the first sign that visited the port of Odesa on October 30, 2019, after almost two years of international cruise ships absence. In addition, there is hope that on October 15, the ship Aegean Odyssey will visit the port of Odesa. Other declared vessels are expected to call at the Odesa port in July-October.


Press Service of Odesa Sea Port Authority



Odesa port and stevedores help fight coronavirus

These days, news of the Odesa Port Stevedoring Association reminds of reports from the front. The Association has been actively involved in the work of the regional COVID-19 Coronavirus Staff. So, in the second half of March, several million were transferred to equip hospitals and to purchase protective suits for ambulance crews and medical staff. Port workers coordinate their humanitarian activities with the largest in the Ukraine volunteer organization "Monster Corporation" (recognized by UNISEF) and with the aforementioned Staff, which promptly receives up-to-date information on the needs of hospitals in the city and region, ambulance stations, etc.


‘The personnel of Brooklyn Kiev and its president Yuriy Gubankov were one of the first to respond to the staff's call: the company purchased 40 thousand respirators worth about 3 mln’, Svetlana Yarova, a representative of the Odesa Port Stevedoring Association, commented. ‘Today, Brooklyn is providing transportation assistance to the City Staff on an ongoing basis. On March 30, 2020, Brooklyn Kiev purchased 500 faceshields with 10 interchangeable displays. The total cost is 240 thousand UAH. 300 masks were transferred to Vodnikov Hospital, 200 masks went to Chornomorsk. Now, at the request of Vodnikov Hospital, the company purchases containers for disinfection of protective suits and a batch of disinfection carpets. Besides, the companies ‘Container Terminal Odessa’ and ‘Novotech Terminal’ paid 2.5 million UAH for the purchase of another 50.4 thousand respirators for maternity hospital No. 5, city clinical hospital No.1, regional, infectious and pediatric regional hospitals. Other port stevedoring companies are also considering further participation in the project.


I would like to add that the stevedoring Association continues to work actively within the COVID-19 world action to combat the coronavirus - Stay Home! This work is aimed at social support of Odesa port veterans who were the first to enter the risk zone and were forced to self-isolate in their apartments. To date, the port's veteran organization has about 1,000 people. Food kits, which Odesa port workers carry around the homes of pensioners, are purchased.


O.GIREYEVA, a coordinator of the ‘Stay home!’ project from the Odesa Port Stevedoring Association





Odesa port moored the first tanker of this year with American oil to the berth

Today, on March 25, 2020, a tanker with 80.5 thousand tons of Bakken grade oil was delivered to the port 2H berth. According to media, on February 27, this year the vessel Minerva Kythnos (L = 249 m, the flag of Greece) was loaded at Port Neches (USA, Texas). The cargo is intended for processing at the Ukrainian enterprise, the Kremenchug refinery.


M/v Minerva Kythnos with the first batch of American oil this year was brought to the Oil Harbor in rather difficult weather conditions (northeast wind up to 10 m/s) by Alexander Shadrin - senior pilot of the PPS ‘Odessa of the branch ‘Delta-Lotsman of the SE ‘USPA’.


According to the main dispatch office of the Odesa branch of the SE ‘USPA’ (the OB SE ‘USPA’), at the end of this month, another oil tanker is expected to call with Azerbaijani oil. The Sea Jaguar vessel (L = 250 m, the flag of the Marshall Islands) with 83.7 thousand tons of Azeri Light oil was loaded last week in the Turkish port of Ceyhan.


For port workers, it is important that every batch of crude oil entering Ukraine comes to the Ukrainian refinery, this is an additional argument for maintaining the competitiveness of the domestic producer, Ruslan Sakhautdinov, General Manager of the OB SE ‘USPA’ says. ‘Ukrainian refineries process mainly raw materials mined in Ukraine. If it is not enough, the plants are additionally loaded with imported oil. In 2019, for example, shale oil was first purchased in the United States. In total, Odesa port accepted three tankers shipments of American oil with a total volume of 250 thousand tons last year. We hope that this year the volume of this particular cargo flow will not be lower than last year ...


Odesa Sea Port Authority




Labor protection training was conducted for the senior staff of Ukrainian ports at Odesa port

The commission of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine with the participation of representatives of the Main Directorate of State Labour Service of Ukraine in the Odesa region and trade unions conducted a test of knowledge of the management of a number of Ukrainian ports on labor protection at Odesa port. This event completed a week-long training course, which was carried out on the basis of the Odesa branch of SE ‘USPA’.


Training on labor protection was being held from March 2-6 under the auspices of the industry training center on sea and river transport. The classes involved leaders and officials of the Odesa, Black Sea, Belgorod-Dniester and Ust-Danube branches of SE ‘USPA’, the Main Representative Office of SE ‘USPA’, the SE ‘Odesa Port’ and the Mariupol Sea Commercial Port, 22 people in total.

Particular attention was paid to legislative innovations and European experience in the field of labor safety. The classes were conducted under the guidance of V. Urodlivchenko, the director of the industry training center, with the involvement of specialists from the Odesa and Black Sea branches of SE ‘USPA’, employees of the Main Directorate of
State Labour Service of Ukraine in the Odesa region.


Everyone who completed the training passed the exam successfully.

Odesa Sea port Authority






‘Our hearts belong to you all year long!’ Odesa sea port Authority welcomed the fair half of the team with the upcoming women's holiday (PHOTO)

Today, March 6, 2020, in the morning, activists of the Youth Organization of the enterprise met women at the port central pedestrian checkpoint and presented each a heart-shaped candy.


At 10.30, the conference hall of the main office of the Odesa branch of the State Ukrainian Sea p;orts Authority’ (the OB SE ‘USPA’), held a celebration on the occasion of International Women's Day, the 8th of March. Head of the port Authority Ruslan Sakhautdinov, Honorary President of the port, Hero of Ukraine Nikolai Pavlyuk, chairman of the Port Trade Union Vladimir Zaikov addressed kind words to the fair half of the team. A number of employees of the SEUSPA’ were given Honorary Certificates of Head of the port Authority and departmental awards for their high professionalism and conscientious performance of official duties.


Odesa Sea Port Authority 














Odesa port and the Vorontsov lighthouse are officially recognized as tourist sites

February 21, the city library No.2 named after K. Paustovsky held a meeting dedicated to World Tour Guide Day. At the event, specialists of Odesa Sea Port Authority were presented a sightseeing bus tour around Odesa port and an excursion to the Vorontsov lighthouse – ‘The Lightkeeper’s Trail’, which celebrates the 10th anniversary season this year.


The Odesa tourist information center of the Department of Culture and Tourism of the Odesa City Council invited the guides of the city’s travel agencies to celebrate the professional holiday. The event was informative, allowing the guides to replenish their knowledge of the history and modernity of the city.


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Container Terminal Odessa: more than 20 million euros investments, expansion of space, technical re-equipment and a new free web service

On February 16, the SYMPHONIY SEA vessel, which arrived from the port of Fenit (Ireland), moored at berth No. 2-k of the Quarantine pier. It delivered 4 rubber-tyred RTG container cranes to Odesa port manufactured by LIEBHERR for the SE Container Terminal Odessa (CTO).


The cranes arrived disassembled, and after installation will be set up at the new warehouse area of the Quarantine pier, which is part of the 4th start-up complex. The complex, which construction began in 2018, will be equipped with six strips for storage and handling of containers with RTG rear loading cranes. The 4th launch complex is planned to be commissioned this autumn.


‘The investments for the purchase of new equipment amounted to more than 6 million euros. The need for these investments is due to the annual growth in the volume of container handling achieved by our company. The new LIEBHERR cranes have a number of technical advantages aimed at lowering operating costs, as well as being more environmentally sound due to more modern engines. This year we are acquiring two new reach stackers and a forklift’, Anastas Kokkin, general director of the subsidiary ‘CTO’ said.


According to Svetlana Yarovaia, the vice president of socio-political relations, ambassador of the municipality of Hamburg in Ukraine, the parent company HHLA has invested in its development and technical equipment since the beginning of the establishment of the stevedoring company in Odesa port.


‘For 19 years during which our company operates in Odesa port, the management of the HHLA Holding has done everything to ensure that CTO subsidiary is the leader of the Ukrainian container market. Total investments in development amounted to more than 170 million euros. The lion's share of this investment goes to the Quarantine mole project, which will ultimately fulfill our long-held dream of transshipping more than 1 million TEU annually. Our company shows how German investments work on the image of Odesa port and help strengthen the Ukrainian economy. This is a signal for potential investors that investing in our country is beneficial’, S. Yarovaya noted.


‘The SE ‘CTO’ is one of the long-standing and reliable partners of the Odesa port,’ Ruslan Sakhautdinov, General Manager of the OB SE ‘USPA’ said. ‘Our cooperation is important in any aspect. First of all, cooperation, built on a mutually beneficial basis, is fastened together by the joint implementation of Quarantine pier, one of the largest projects in the maritime industry of Ukraine. The company does not only fulfills its investment obligations but also constantly introduces the latest technologies, including IT-technologies. As a result, the investments made in the development of the SE ‘CTO’ are a real contribution to the Ukrainian economy. Replenishing the machinery park, the company increases the intensity of fleet processing and contributes to the growth of port cargo turnover. Consequently, revenues and deductions to the state budget will increase.


Being the leader of the Ukrainian container market, the SE ‘CTO’ is constantly increasing the transshipment of containers and other general cargoes. According to Igor Yarovenko, Executive Director for Commerce, for the first month of 2020, the team processed 34.023 thousand TEU, which is 25% more than in January 2019.


‘The company is constantly developing, getting technically equipped, introducing the most modern technologies. Since February 18, SE ‘CTO’ together with Odesa Sea Port Authority has been providing its customers with a new free service. For a phased transition to electronic document flow, we are introducing a high-tech web portal that provides for the preparation of electronic documents in advance for entry into the territory of Odesa port and an acceptance certificate for importing the container to the terminal. the innovation will already optimize the workflow and reduce the time for issuing motor transport with export and empty containers that go to the terminal of the SE ‘CTO’ at this stage’, I. Yarovenko informed.





Odesa port honored veterans of the war in Afghanistan and other local conflicts

February 14, on the eve of the 31st anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, port employees were invited to the main office of Odesa Sea Port Authority - participants of the Afghan war and other local conflicts.


General Manager of Odesa Sea Port expressed deep respect to those who passed the test of the war, thanked the veterans for their active citizenship, and highly appreciated their labor input to the economy of the port and its development.


‘This memorable date, which ended the epic of the war in Afghanistan, exists for us to truly appreciate the world,’ R. Sakhautdinov noted.


A number of port employees, participants in hostilities in Afghanistan and other conflicts were presented with awards of the Ukrainian Union of Afghanistan Veterans, Certificates of honor of General Manager of Odesa Sea Port Authority. Vladimir Zaykov was also awarded the medal of the Ukrainian Union of Afghanistan Veterans ‘For Unbroken Spirit’. Thus, the full support of the veteran movement from the Trade Union of Odesa port was noted.


Odesa Sea Port Authority






CMA CGM URAL crew is healthy, the vessel is processed ordinarily (official statement of the sanitary-quarantine department (SQD) of Odesa port)

On February 13, the container ship CMA CGM URAL (Malta flag) moored to berth No.42 of Odesa port. There were many publications of an alarming nature in the electronic media before her call to the port. Like, the vessel that had called to Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen and other Chinese ports before the coronavirus epidemic 2019-nCoV outbreak comprises sick crew members.


According to Oksana Borisenko, head of the sanitary-quarantine department of Odesa port, having studied this information, the experts handed it over to the National Coordinator for International Health Regulations, which is the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. The SQD also began to prepare for accepting the vessel.


‘When the vessel was only approaching the Suez Canal, we contacted Alexander Shchokin, CMA CGM Ukraine CEO’, said O. Borisenko. ‘He provided us with the necessary information and supporting copies of the documents of foreign ports' sanitary authorities on the route of the vessel. In particular, the CMA CGM URAL container ship, which began its route in mid-January with calls to several Chinese ports, came to the ports of Egypt (Port Said), Lebanon (Beirut, Tripoli), Turkey (Izmit, Ambari), to Romanian Constanta, and she was given free pratique everywhere.


‘A month ago, on January 13, the container ship entered the last Chinese port of Xeamin’, A. Shchokin commented. ‘We have been monitoring the situation aboard throughout the month. It is important for us that in ports such as Istanbul, Izmit (Turkey), Tripoli (Lebanon), the sanitary services noted that the crew was healthy. Yesterday (February 12), when the vessel was being processed in Constanta (Romania), we received information that there were no patients on board. Today we submitted the sanitary bulletin to Odesa port's SQD, which clearly states that the crew is healthy.


At the moment, the container ship is moored at berth No.42. After inspection by epidemiologists and confirmation that all crew members are healthy, processing of CMA CGM URAL, with a 9400 TEU capacity, has begun. 2665 TEU for unloading and 3286 TEU for loading are scheduled.


We remind that since 24.01.2020 the order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine No. 185 has come into force, providing for an enhanced regime of operation of special sanitary-quarantine services in international maritime checkpoints across the state border of Ukraine. Epidemiologists are the first to ascend the vessel, inspect the crew, and only after that, the vessel is granted ‘free pratique’. Moreover, the Ukrainian side receives information on the status of the crew in advance - for a day, or even for two. Depending on the information received from the maritime agent, port epidemiologists, taking into account all possible risks, apply appropriate personal protective equipment. SKO doctors are provided with the necessary protective suits, respirators, masks, panoramic masks, goggles, gloves.


Odesa Sea Port Authority




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Dear clients!

In the framework of optimizing business processes and document flow related to cargo and transport clearance, in order to fasten clearance of cargo in containers and empty containers, the Odesa branch of SE ‘USPA’ and the SE ’CTO’ introduces the next stage of digitization since 18.02.2020 providing for the possibility of one-time and simultaneous submission of documents in electronic form for registration of passes to Odesa sea port and receiving act of the SE ‘CTO’ for the import of containers to the terminal.


Thus, since the introduction of the new algorithm of port pass registration and the receiving act of the SE ‘CTO’ it is enough only to provide the necessary information with the use of one system (ISPS or web portal of the SE ‘CTO'), without loss of additional time expecting registration of documents in ‘manual mode’ next to the appropriate accounting groups. Switching to an electronic system will reduce clearance time by almost 10 minutes per a vehicle.


Issuing of passes and receiving acts can be completed using the ISPS or the web portal of SE ‘CTO’, due to the automatic exchange of information between the systems.


To improve the work execution, Odesa sea port has introduced registration and transmission by the freight forwarder of electronic passes in the form of bar codes directly to the driver on a mobile device (smartphone, tablet, etc.).


Thus, today the forwarding companies can independently issue a pass and transfer this to a driver`s portable device without contacting the employees of the accounting group of the OB SE ‘USPA’ exclusively in electronic form without hard copy. Moreover, as of February 18, 2020, the electronic bar code passes will be contained on the receiving acts of SE ‘CTO’.


By the end of the year, the port Authority is planning to switch to Time-Slotting system and to turn completely to electronic document flow for clearance of cargo and vehicles that transport them.


If you have any further questions regarding the application for entry into the port and receiving an electronic pass, please, contact the ISPS Technical Support Department (24 hours a day) at (048) 737-70-80; (050) 395-90-90, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Click here for the step-by-step instructions on the document clearance on the web portal


As of 06.02.2020, epidemiologists of the sanitary-quarantine department of Odesa port provided a medical (sanitary) examination of crew members of 25 sea vessels shipping worldwide


Last night, COSCO SHIPPING SEINE (L = 299.9 m, flag - Hong Kong), the container ship moored at berth No. 42 in Khlebnaya harbor. The vessel arrived in Odesa after entering the ports of China during the incubation period of the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV. Right after mooring, a medical (sanitary) examination of all crew members of the container ship and other preventive measures were carried out, in accordance with Order of the Ministry of Health dated January 24, 2020, No. 185, which provides for an enhanced operation mode of special sanitary-quarantine departments at international sea checkpoints (entries) across the state border of Ukraine.


Since this document`s requirements have come into force, a medical examination of crews in Odesa port has already been carried out on 25 vessels. Among these, 5 came from China, including 4, which left the ports of the Celestial Empire before the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan.


The epidemiological well-being of seafarers on vessels at the berths of domestic ports is controlled by specialists of the sanitary-quarantine departments (SQD) of the State Institution ‘Laboratory Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine on Water Transport’. Since the end of January this year, workers of SQD have been boarding almost all vessels calling at Odesa port, regardless a region of the World Ocean they arrived from.


We are forced to switch to almost 100 percent crew control, taking into account the specifics of the seafarers` work,’ Nina Starova, an epidemiologist with 35 years of experience, says. Importation has been recorded in 26 countries. Even if the seafarers have not visited China recently, we don’t know which flight he flew to the next crew change, who he contacted on the plane ...


According to N. Starova, the procedure for the epidemiologist to prevent the importation of coronavirus 2019-nCoV through the international sea checkpoint into Ukraine includes two stages. At the first stage, medical documents are examined using the risk-based method before a vessel arrives at the port. Documents are provided by the captain through a maritime agent in the Port Information Community System. At the second stage, onboard the vessel, the captain presents the Maritime Health Declaration and the originals of the medical documents. Using a non-contact infrared thermometer, the specialists of the sanitary-quarantine department conduct temperature screening and get acquainted with the survey results of each crew member (the proforma of the questionnaire is sent to the captain in advance).


Only making sure that there is no epidemic threat on board the vessel, an SQD specialist gives the right to ‘free practice’ at the port of arrival and allows representatives of regulatory authorities (border guards, customs officers) to board the vessel and continue the border opening procedure.


‘If a patient is identified, an operational plan of anti-epidemic measures will immediately be put into operation on the vessel, Oksana Borisenko, head of the sanitary-quarantine department of Odesa sea port, says. - In this case, the patient with suspected coronavirus will be isolated in the vessel's isolation ward, or the port's isolation ward, followed by hospitalization at the onshore hospital base, and the vessel itself will be quarantined with appropriate medical measures.


In the context of implementing measures to prevent importation and spread to Ukraine of coronavirus through a sea checkpoint, O. Borisenko noted the operational actions of Odesa port Authority (R. Sakhautdinov, General Manager) in preparing a quarantine berth and premises for temporary isolation of persons with suspected diagnosis 2019-nCoV.


Besides, the head of SQD spoke about the availability of the necessary equipment, personal protective equipment and practical skills if infected people are identified. The department holds regular training of anti-epidemic teams every year in April. In October 2014, due to the threat of the Ebola virus spread, large international exercises were held at the port of Odesa.


Odesa Sea Port Authority