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How Neptune terminal was put into operation in Pivdenny sea port – photo report

10 September 2019   Andriy Muravskyi

On Friday, in Pivdenny sea port the official opening of MV Cargo grain terminal took place. It was combined with the 25th anniversary of TIS. Ports of Ukraine visited this grand event. The port has never been so beautiful before.

How Neptune terminal was put into operation in Pivdenny sea port – photo report

A still frame from the film about TIS shown from the stage during feast. Cast: Andrey Stavnitser and Philipp Grushko.

On September 6, several thousand guests gathered near the berth No. 25 of Pivdenny port. They welcomed the grand opening of new MV Cargo grain terminal that began with the first vessel entry to Neptune terminal (formerly MB Cargo). It was STAR ERACLE bulk carrier with a deadweight of more than 58 thousand tons. Approximately 56 thousand tons of wheat to be loaded into its cargo holds will go to Indonesia. Bulk carrier approaches the berth under the water salute of tugboats.

The festive infrastructure fit into the port facilities very organically. There was a concert stage between symmetrically placed containers, food zone, installations, photo zones, gazebos and deckchairs, media centre under a towering port crane... Hay under your feet, smell of smoke from barbecues, funny noise and sea view always pleasing to the eye.

Prior to the grand opening, MV Cargo has already been operating in test mode since last summer, and the first million tons of wheat and corn was transhipped this spring. Over the entire period of test operation 1.8 million tons were handled. Grain cargos were dispatched through the TIS Container Terminal. In the new grain season, the terminal intends to transship more than three million tons.

The total design capacity of the first queue of terminal is five million tons of grain. At the same time, it can store 290 thousand tons in 14 silos and ground-level storage. The cost of construction of such a giant amounted to USD 150 million, it was created in partnership with international banks of the IFC and the EBRD. The project has been implemented within five years.

 ‘It was important for us to find a reliable partner in Ukraine. And we are pleased with the result. Ukraine is an extremely important component of the global food supply chain. Moreover, in the nearest future Ukraine will become the largest exporter of corn in the world. Our company is trying to connect manufacturers and end consumer’, stated Roger Janson, Vice President of Cargill.

According to him, Cargill intends to develop business in Ukraine. ‘In the domestic market we will deal with feed and livestock. The terminal infrastructure will be our gateway to the global market. Our objective is to create the largest capacities in the Black Sea,’ added Janson.

Vice President of Cargill Roger Janson

The shareholder of MV Cargo and co-owner of TIS company Andrey Stavnitser speaking from the stage in front of the guests said that the construction of such a terminal had been previously envisaged by his father, Alexey Stavnitser. Before he passed away in 2011, he had been elaborating design, making notes.

‘Therefore, the MV Cargo project has become for me not so much a business project as a personal one needed to be carried through at all costs. I thought that since we built five terminals from scratch, another would be easily completed. However, for almost two years we had been looking for partners. Many phases of negotiations ended in nothing. Everyone was afraid - the project was too big. It turned out that in the country such a big project was within the power of only two companies - ours and Cargill’, he said.

We spent almost two years in negotiations at the height of fighting. Some documents were signed during shooting on the Maidan. Cargill lost its OEP in Donetsk. But you know what's interesting? In the 900-page agreement, the section regarding war risks took up one page whereas the section regarding risks associated with corruption in the courts took up 45 pages. Yes, even the giant global family corporation is less afraid of the war than the Solomianskyi court in Kyiv’, detailed Andrey.

The celebration of opening of MV Cargo which was solemnly renamed as Neptune smoothly passed directly into celebration of the 25th anniversary of TIS. Terminal employees and guests were shown a 20-minute film about the role which port plays in the life of every person. Most of the goods we use in everyday life enter the country through the port. In the story, a terminal worker shows his nephew what the port is doing. They travel through the port and other places through portals - a convertible begins its journey entering open doors of the sea container. It makes an impression - indeed, being in the port, observing the enormous scale of terminals, large cranes and motor ships, you look at all this with the delight of a child.

Yegor Grebennikov, Andrey Stavitser, Philipp Grushko

Later there were solemn speeches from the owners of terminals and the founders of company. ‘A little more than a quarter of a century ago, Alexey Stavnitser and I came here where there was a small team of people maintaining an unnecessary complex of phosphorites - with one berth and a warehouse. We managed to build from a small terminal not even a port, but the largest transport hub in Ukraine. We had a wonderful team of like-minded people and a common dream. 25 years have passed, and more than 26 million tons per year are loaded at TIS terminals’, said in particular Oleg Kutateladze, one of the founders of TIS.

Over a year, more than 20% of all cargo passing through the seaports of Ukraine is handled at the TIS terminals in Pivdenny (coal, ore, grain, container, and mineral fertilizers terminal). The total investment of TIS in infrastructure development over 25 years of operation exceeded USD 770 million, the founders said.

Traditionally, on TIS birthday vessels and locomotives located in the port give a whistle at the same time, thus honouring the memory of Alexey Stavnitser. This year, the celebration itself was postponed for several days to combine with the grand opening of the new terminal. It is needless to say that no one forgot about this important tradition. And at dusk, the whistles of many vessels and tugs began to merge in the water.

Hereafter there was a grand concert, which lasted until late in the evening. Zlata Ognevich sang the anthem of Ukraine and several songs, then the Boombox performed and the headliner was the British band Franz Ferdinand.

At the same time, in the recreation area the long-standing acquaintances rejoiced the next meeting  and discussed business issues. Or just relaxed. Guests were invited to visit the tug of P&O Maritime Ukraine moored here at the berth. There were more than enough people willing to visit the tug, and experienced captains jokingly tried to steer.

An element of the show was a port crane which sparkling with lights started to move. Most of the guests stayed until the very end of concert, as evidenced by the large number of cars leaving the terminal at that time.

That is how big ideas come to life, and the infrastructure of Ukraine is being built and developed right beneath our eyes. It turns out that nothing is impossible if you look intentionally and rationally into the future.

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