Latvian citizen Raivis Veckagans is to head the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority, the enterprise that manages Ukraine’s state ports, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan announced on Jan. 10.
According to the Infrastructure Ministry’s website, Veckagans will be officially appointed this week.
Veckagans has more than 16 years of experience in managing transport, logistics, shipping and financial service companies. He was Chairman of the Board at Riga Central Terminal from March 2014 until November 2015. Riga Central Terminal is the largest bulk and general cargo processing port terminal in the Baltic States.
Veckagans also headed the Riga Container Terminal, the sole container terminal in the Port of Riga, which specializes in sea-rail transshipment services.
The ministry quoted Omelyan as saying that that Veckagans’s appointment will be the first step in reforming the ports industry – a reform that includes creating the Marine Administration, which will take over the functions of the Sea Ports Authority.
Omelyan said that Sea Ports Authority is now “a model of inefficiency, corruption and abuse.” He said that after he announced the plan to reform the enterprise in December, the previous management allocated an additional Hr 700,000 to Hr 1.5 million per person to their salaries.
Before Veckagans’s appointment, the Sea Ports Authority is headed by a temporary acting head, Sergiy Gronsky, who was appointed by the Infrastructure Ministry.
Ukrainian journalist Denis Bigus reported that the authority’s previous head, Andriy Amelin, who is suspected by Ukrainian authorities of embezzling more than Hr 3 million, had a salary of Hr $3.8 million a month. The Sea Ports Authority’s press service confirmed the report.
Amelin was arrested this summer, but the courts released him on Hr 1.3 million bail, while suspending him from his position. Amelin had headed the Sea Ports Administration since 2014.
Currently the ministry will focus on optimizing the Sea Ports Authority’s structure and cutting staff – the authority currently employs around 8,000 people.