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 Ukrainian Danube Navigation obtains 60 barges ordered in Austria back during Soviet era

The many-year process of transferring barges of Europe-IIb type to ownership of Ukrainian Danube Navigation (Odesa region) was finished in Vienna on Dec. 13.

Censor.NET reports citing Interfax-Ukraine, this was said in a statement by the press service of Ukrainian Danube Navigation.

Twenty seven years ago, in 1989, Sovkomflot signed a contract with Austria's BAWAG leasing GmbH to build Europe-IIb type barges. When the USSR dissolved, Ukrainian Danube Navigation became the legal successor of Sovkomflot liabilities.

Under the agreement, the advance payment of 15 percent of the cost of the barges was paid, and the rest of the sum was to be paid under a schedule. However, there were breaks in the schedule during more than 25 years and then payments were stopped due to financial difficulties of the enterprise over the U.N. embargo against Yugoslavia, war in this country and destruction of bridges on the Danube River.

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As of December 2014, the debt for building the barges was over EUR 7 million and around EUR 2 of interest.

"After long talks Ukrainian Danube Navigation managed to arrange the reduction of the debt by 90% in 2015 with BAWAG leasing GmbH and Österreichische Kontrollbank AG (OeKB) acted as a guarantor of the Austrian government. The debt was cut to EUR 1.5 million if it is paid under the schedule before Nov. 30, 2016," the company said.

The debt was settled on Nov. 24, and on Dec. 13, 60 barges were transferred to ownership of Ukrainian Danube Navigation in Vienna.

Ukrainian Danube Navigation performs over 30 percent of the transportation on the Danube River. The company's fleet includes nearly 400 self-propelled and towed river vessels, and 30 seagoing vessels.

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