USPA speaks out in favor of state pilot services
The Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA) supports the practice of providing pilotage services at ports exclusively by state-owned companies, the USPA press release said.
The authority believes this guarantees the safety of navigation, of human lives and health, as well as compliance with environmental rules, the functions assigned to the state in accordance with international law.
"Today, the only state enterprise providing safe piloting of vessels in ports is Delta Lotsman, a USPA branch. The unit also has a facility specializing in basic and advance training of marine pilots. The training center has technical and human resources that make Delta Lotsman one-of-a-kind enterprise. Besides, we plan to increase its potential by updating the pilotage fleet," Raivis Veckagans, the USPA head was quoted as saying.
According to the current national legislation and regulations, the provision of pilotage services is attributed to the sphere of natural monopolies. State-run enterprise USPA is defined as the only natural monopoly for the provision of pilotage services, which, on the proposal of the Ministry of Infrastructure, has been included by the Antimonopoly Committee in the consolidated list of natural monopoly entities.
This approach correlates with European practice. In the spring of this year, the decision of the European Parliament came into force, according to which the pilotage business is a locally approved regulated activity and should not depend on the principles of free market economy and competition.
Therefore, demonopolization of this sphere can cause great harm and endanger the national and economic security of the state, but also directly contradicts the norms of Ukrainian and European legislation.
"This sector should be centralized and remain in charge of the state company. Private players will focus on making profits and have an interest only in large ports. USPA does not have any preferences in terms of ports or operators and the authority ensures an equally high quality of pilotage services in all harbors," says Raivis Veckagans.
As for the marine pilots qualification training, Delta Lotsman (order of the Ministry of Transport of Ukraine, No. 577, October 23, 2000) is also responsible for that. To date, the total number of pilots is about 170 people. Approximate number of persons annually undergoing training is 10 or15, and retraining - 60 people. Given this, it is difficult to talk about the existence of a separate "service market", which requires competition, USPA said.