Oleksandr Kava: Ukrainian economy requires developing domestic transport infrastructure


Initiators and developers of transport strategies in Ukraine have aimed their efforts at trying to realize the potential of our country as a potential international transit junction by using its specific features and resources over the past decade. However, the system development of domestic transport infrastructure was a minor issue.    

Ukraine often forgot that the foundation of today’s economy is mobility. Mobility of population, fast transportation of raw materials and energy resources, prompt delivery of manufactured products – a joint contribution of these components creates a significant added value to any economy. In the XXI century, transport together with innovations are a major catalyst for economic growth. There can be no strong economy either theoretically or practically in Ukraine without the modern transport infrastructure.

High-quality and well-designed intrastate roads, water and air routes are one of the most serious incentives for economic development.

Best practices of successful countries that have actually built outstanding domestic transport corridors – Germany, the USA and Japan – are an example that proves: high-quality and well-designed intrastate roads, water and air routes are one of the most serious incentives for economic development. It is just worth saying that the population mobility in Ukraine is 6.5 times lower than in EU countries. This problem won’t be resolved even by joining the European community. We have to build domestic corridors, provide modern conditions of their construction and operation and satisfy the modern transport needs of the Ukrainian market. This will help the country save a lot of time on transporting both people and goods. By the way, time is the most expensive non-renewable resource.

Ukraine needs real projects. The government has made a large mistake for many years: offered to implement unjustified, economically feasible investment projects. It may be useful to mention, for example, the concession project of constructing highways. This state initiative was one of the most publicized initiatives among international investors. However, no one project has started to be implemented – there even were no interested investors. At the same time, the construction of a new highway Kyiv – Bila Tserkva that doesn’t require huge costs hasn’t even been considered as a promising project to implement. This is despite the fact that such a highway not only would reduce the time to transport goods and people by half, but also would relieve a traffic congestion on one of the most intense Ukrainian corridors – the E95 highway in the southern direction from Kyiv. In addition, this highway would take some traffic of the Kyiv bypass road.

Ukraine needs real projects

Even our expert community hasn’t recovered from the former ‘gigantomania’. We offer to implement projects requiring enormous costs and huge resources (in particular, the time). But we forget that the only thing we need for such projects is to get the trust of investors. We offer to invest in the economy that has not proved its ability to think in terms of feasibility, benefits and social significance not only by words yet.

I hope the discussion under the first “Ukrainian Infrastructure Forum” will help highlight key points and consider the transport strategy of Ukraine not only as a transit country, but also as a comfortable environment where people can move between cities quickly and easily.