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FORMAG Group – Odessa, Ukraine

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Interview with

Mr. Oleg Kostyuk
General Manager

When was the Formag group established, who owns it and what is the main activity of the company?

The Formag group was established in 2005 by Global Transport Investments Ltd. as a liner agency company in Ukraine. After the acquisition of UASC by HL, we continued to develop the forwarding and vessel agency businesses. It was not an easy task to save the team as well as to transform the business activities and the core product, but I can proudly say that we’ve managed to do so and now we provide vessel agency services (including naval), forwarding and projects of course.

Ukraine has several ports. Enlighten our readers on the available ports. Also do you have inland ports/river ports that can be used?

Ukraine has fifteen seaports (plus three ports in occupied Crimea). I must admit that it’s not an easy task to describe sea and river port infrastructure and not bore your readers, so I will try to make it as a digest. 

The biggest ports in the Black Sea are Odessa, Chornomorsk (ex Ilyichevsk) and Pivdenny (ex Yuzhny) covering 60% of all cargo turnover of Ukraine. The biggest Ukrainian ports of AZOV are Mariupol and Berdyansk. 

Our biggest river transport artery is Dnipro. Some projects reach Belarus by the Dnipro river. 

Another strategic advantage is that Ukraine is on the Silk Road from China, so it’s a prospective developments option.

How aboutcustoms clearance in your country? Is it difficult? Are there any obstacles generally to getting customs clearance done quickly?

I will be honest, it’s not the easiest part of our job and we have a lot of room for improvement in this area. However, as an example, we managed to clear two gas rigs over four hours, so we are registering more and more improvements and positive signs in this respect.

Ukraine has been in turmoil in recent years. Tell us about the current situation for business in your country and how is your current relationship with the EU and Russia business-wise?

Indeed, Russia had previously been the biggest trade partner for Ukraine until 2014. But since then, business cooperation with Russia has shrunk and China has emerged as the main partner for Ukraine. Local businesses have also developed stronger relations with the Middle Eastern and South-East Asian countries. Trade volumes with the EU also grow steadily, especially the export of agricultural products from Ukraine to the EU, having increased by 40% in 2019 compared to 2018.

Could you provide our readers with a few examples of cargoes that you have handled recently?

Well, a couple of projects during 2019: 

Door delivery and import formalities for 2 pieces of onshore gas rig and equipment. 42 trucks, 9 trucks with OOG equipment. The longest unit was about 18m, the heaviest 38 tons. 

2 x 79 tons transformers from Hungary – Odessa, Ukraine. The total route was 1327 km one way via 3 countries. 

Also, there are others like bulldozers, combines, navy boats, mining trucks, equipment and others.

Do you belong to any networks currently? If so, why?

We’ve been an exclusive member of Multiport in Ukraine since 1999. It’s the oldest and biggest network of independent ship agents. We are also member of Cross Ocean Air & Sea Project Network which I think you are familiar with. http://cross-ocean.com/

Ukraine is a big country, but it is perhaps not so well known as a tourist destination. Can you suggest a few places that would be nice for our readers to visit in your country?

I will start by mentioning our capital, Kyiv. Its history goes back for more than a thousand years. Some of the buildings and architectural landmarks built back then are still in place, which is a remarkable thing on its own. But Kyiv has been developing ever since, and now it is the administrative, cultural and business capital of the country.

Another great city is Lviv. Located in the West of Ukraine, Lviv has been emerging as a tourist destination over the last decade and you can see why, with its beautiful Vienna-like architecture, lots of great restaurants and good coffee shops. The city is a perfect location for a weekend trip.

There’s also Odessa, of course, which is the most vibrant yet cozy, charming and overall best city in Ukraine. Everyone will find something in Odessa to fall in love with. From the great cafes and restaurants, beach clubs and nice architecture to the theatres, tranquil city parks and seaside promenade, Odessa has it covered.

How is best to get in touch with you?

Email: okostyuk@Formag-group.com 
Personal Email: okostyuk@gmail.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/oleg-kostyuk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oleg.kostyuk.10

Global Transport Investments Ltd http://gtinvestments.net/

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