Overcoming the challenges of the maritime industry of Ukraine is possible only through clusterization

The place of Ukraine in the European maritime community.

On September 30th, the round table «Ukraine’s place in the European maritime community. The future and prospects of the maritime industry in the context of global economic challenges.” was took place in Mykolaiv. The event, organized by the Delegation of the European Union in Ukraine and Team Europe Mykolaiv, was held as part of the annual European Maritime Day. Ukrainian Maritime Cluster, Marine Design Engineering Mykolayiv (MDEM), and the Mykolaiv Regional Business Support Center became co-organizers of Mykolaiv’s event.

Representatives of majority enterprises of the Mykolaiv shipbuilding and maritime industries attended the event. Oleksandr Senkevych, the mayor of Mykolaiv, welcomed the meeting. In general, reports and discussions were focused on two key issues – the further development of the Ukrainian Maritime Cluster and educational training programs. According to the common opinion, the personnel issue’s solution is inseparable from the cluster approach. It requires complex actions in many fields and collective efforts to organize financial support for the process.

The foundation of the Ukrainian Maritime Cluster (UMC) was laid in Mykolaiv in 2018. Its development should help to solve the urgent problems of shipbuilding enterprises. Such an organization can effectively promote the reproduction of industrial supply chains, protect business owners’ rights, lobby for favorable legislative initiatives, marketing services, products, etc. especially when the state support is limited or missing.
Roman Khanzhyn, Executive Director of UMC, also noted the importance of joining the European network of maritime clusters, which today concentrate more than 25,000 enterprises. Cluster tools of united Europe provide broad opportunities for business interaction – fund development, target markets, contractors, investments, etc.

Serhii Hurskyi, Executive Director of «Oсean» Shipyard, and Mykola Hapeiev, Head of Marketing, mentioned UMC’s informational support during the raiders’ attack on the shipyard in January 2020. They noted that currently, «Ocean» regains its position in the shipbuilding market. The use of marketing and information resources of the Cluster will be useful for finding new orders and strengthening the business reputation.

Olena Zhukova, MDEM Director, told about the company’s path from the design bureau to a multiservice company, which is successfully integrated into the value chain of the Dutch shipbuilding concern and offers engineering, research, marketing, and other services. The company’s portfolio includes more than 400 projects of ship design. This experience increases the potential and competitiveness of the UMC in the global shipbuilding market.

Dmytro Busov (State Research and Design Shipbuilding Center) mentioned the Design Bureau’s participation in creating an advanced Ukrainian corvette (project 58250) when more than 30 Ukrainian enterprises were involved in the process and created a prototype of the domestic shipbuilding cluster. He emphasized that the formation of the Maritime Cluster of Ukraine will contribute to Ukrainian equipment and weapons manufacturers’ development. The integration into the European network will lead to a better search for those not produced in Ukraine. Yaroslav Kovalenko, Ukroboronprom, told about reforms of the concern, which should be completed by the end of this year and give more independence to state-owned shipbuilding companies, including the opportunity to join the Cluster, attract foreign investment, introduce new projects, etc.

Serhii Pokui joined the meeting online and told about creating a modern training center for preparing specialists of working specialties. The new type of training center will model the production process at a real enterprise, which will provide the graduation of fully prepared to perform production tasks specialists. The creation of such a training center is the Cluster’s first-priority task because the labor market shortage is one of the biggest problems that stand to recover the Ukrainian shipbuilding.
Professor Yurii Zhukov presented the experience of the Admiral Makarov National University of Shipbuilding (NUOS) in the creation of the training center on the preparation of engineering and technical personnel where were prepared more than 100 experts for the last six years, partially satisfying the need of the Mykolaiv design bureaus in specialists. Doctor of Economics Volodymyr Parsyak told about the benefits of dual education, which has become the main principle of attracting new employees – NUOS students start working on their specialties on real projects from the 4th academic year. This approach contributes to a better consolidation of knowledge and faster professional level growth of young shipbuilders.

The event ended with a lively conversation and further discussion in an informal setting. All participants understand that running the Ukrainian Maritime Cluster’s working projects will be neither quick nor easy. But precisely these events help to find common points of effort focus and methods of solving urgent issues. The meeting of different enterprise representatives at the Round Table also helps better understand the current industry situation and contribute to strengthening horizontal ties between enterprises.

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