Coronavirus, drought and politics
In 2020, the international lockdown due to coronavirus epidemic had a bad impact on the economy of Odessa region. Political instability, penalising monetary policy and the lack of a clear strategy to contrast the emergency, as well as an unprecedented drought over the past twenty years, led to a deterioration in the economic situation not only in the region, but also in the whole country. According to official data, the decline in industrial production in the Odessa region amounted to 3.3%, and in some sectors, such as light industry, to 17.5%.
In the agrarian sector, the decline in production reached a record 47.3% since the beginning of the century for cereals and legumes. Problems also arose among vegetable growers, gardeners and winegrowers. The number of farm animals also decreased, as did the production of livestock products (meat – by 4.8%, milk – by 3.5%, eggs – by 14.2%).
The foreign trade balance continued to deteriorate: by October (latest data) exports decreased by 3%, amounting to slightly more than a billion US dollars since the beginning of the year, while imports increased by 8.8% to 1.6 billion. The negative balance reached 568.5 million dollars (in January-October 2019 there were 401.6 million).
Sea ports and trade
Against this background, the port operators are satisfied: the turnover of the harbours is growing.
According to the results of January-December 2020, the leaders in terms of transhipment are five seaports. Three of them are in the Odessa region. These top-5 ports handled a total of 145.89 million tons of cargo, which is 91.8% of the total processing in seaports of Ukraine (report by USPA). It is roughly 10%, more than in the same period last year, and due to export.
The flagship of cargo handling in January-December 2020 was Yuzhny port with a volume of 61.66 million tons of processed cargo (+ 14.5%). This is, more than a third of all sea cargo of the country. This is 16.2% more compared to the same period in 2019 and a historical record in general.
In second place – the seaport of Nikolaev with a transshipment of 30.07 million tons (-10%), and in third and fourth place – the seaports of Chernomorsk and Odessa city port in the amount of 23.86 million tons (-8.8%) and 23,29 million tons (-8.1%), respectively.
In fifth place is the seaport of Mariupol, which increased transshipment to 7.01 million tons (+8.1%).
The leaders in terms of transshipment volumes are ore and grain cargo. The first place is occupied by grain cargo, the transshipment of which amounted to 44.2 million tons. In second place is ore in the amount of 40.5 million tons, which is 20.4% more than the same indicator of the previous year.
Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority
In the coming years, the Ministry of Infrastructure hopes to implement a number of investment projects, in particular to transfer to the concession the railway-ferry complex and the container terminal in the port of Chernomorsk, the passenger complex of the Odessa and Izmail ports, the Reni, Behorod-Dnestrovsky ports, as well as Ust-Dunaisk. It is likely that this will spur the development of the listed harbours.
Some local companies’ achievements
There were other good economic news in 2020. For example, the Odessa Portside Plant doubled its production, after having stood idle from April 2018 to August 2019. Moreover, the company is even preparing to produce medical oxygen, which is so necessary to treat patients with Covid-19. But, this is also a matter of getting the necessary government licenses and certificates in time.
The largest degassing station in Ukraine started operating at the main Odessa landfill, which should improve the environmental situation in the vicinity of the area.
The Odessa plant Telecard-device has emerged from a protracted crisis and is successfully worked not only with the Ukrainian military, producing communication and control systems for them, but also with private clients. The company also developed and implemented uninterruptible power systems for city traffic lights. In Odessa, 40 out of 350 traffic light objects have already been supplied by them. In addition, the company has launched the production of oxygen concentrators, another important element in the fight against Covid-19.
New wind and solar power plants were built in the region, Odesgorelectrotrans patented its method of overhauling trams with a complete body replacement. Over the past few years, this factory has repaired and built 26 new trams: 17 Kashtanov, six Odyssey and two multi-section Odyssey MAX.
Izmail enterprises Dunaisudoservice and Dunaisudoremont completed and launched the largest non-self-propelled barge in the history of Ukraine.
The Odessa Aviation Plant continued working, dealing with maintenance and upgrading of aircraft for the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and received also some foreign orders.
Finally, the new runway of the Odessa airport was handed over. However, the air traffic is subject to the conditions of covid restrictions, in the near future.
However, the crisis is gaining momentum. Small, medium and large firms are experiencing serious difficulties: many shops and cafes were closed in the city and the region during the year, and factories are suffering losses. But the situation is best seen in budgetary processes.
The Odessa municipal treasury, for example, has lost more than half a billion hryvnia this year, mainly due to the tax on personal income. The budget for 2021 does not differ much from the current one in terms of indicators, which indicates a very difficult situation (in the past, income and expenses grew every year, outstripping inflation). As a result, many city projects, including those promoted before the elections, were implemented much more modestly than planned, or were frozen altogether.
In summary, considering the Covid-19 emergency the year was difficult, but not completely negative. Hardly, that the new one will be easier.
Source and pictures: Dumskaya.net