People work next to a railway containers carrying a spent nuclear fuel, on the construction site of the Interim Spent Nuclear Fuel Dry Storage Facility (ISF-2) next to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 22, 2016. (Xinhua/SIPA)
KIEV, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine views the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation as a chance to launch new joint infrastructure projects with China, Ukrainian Deputy Infrastructure Minister Viktor Dovgan has said.
"We really expect new projects ... We offer specific projects under the Silk Road initiative in port, road and rail infrastructure, which are aimed at improving logistics and transit," Dovgan told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview.
He noted that during the Belt and Road Forum scheduled for mid-May in Beijing, Ukraine is seeking to reach agreements on cooperation at least in two areas.
"The first one is the construction of bridges -- there is a specific project with China Road and Bridge Corporation. Based on the results of the forum, we expect to carry out a feasibility study and agree on a loan," Dovgan said.
"The second is the creation of a joint venture between China Railway Corporation and the Ukrainian State Railways on the production of electric locomotives," he added.
In 2015, Ukraine has formally entered the Silk Road project, launching a train to China via the sea-rail Trans-Caspian International Transport Route through Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
"This Silk Road route is functional, but due to the sea freight costs, currently, it is too expensive," Dovgan said.
He said that Ukraine is willing to find customers for the train service in China to make the cargo tariffs on the route competitive on the global freight market.
"There is enough cargo from Ukraine, but there is no cargo from China. We are inviting Chinese companies to join this project. It will enable to give a full load to the train and reduce the tariffs," Dovgan stressed.
He spoke highly of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China in 2013, saying it is crucial for the development of infrastructure network along the Silk Road.
"This is a key initiative as the Belt and Road envisages the construction and the development of infrastructure of all participating countries," Dovgan said.
Speaking of the current cooperation between China and Ukraine in the infrastructure sector under the Belt and Road Initiative, the deputy minister said it is well underway.
"The Chinese companies are already participating in the government's tenders for dredging in the Ukrainian ports and for constructions of the roads," Dovgan said.
He emphasized that Ukraine is willing to further contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative and is able to do so given its geographical position and transit capabilities.
Ukraine can play an important role in connecting China and other Asian countries with western and northern Europe, Dovgan said.
"We have a lot of options for this. Once cargoes enter the Odessa port (southern Ukraine), we could ship them by rail to Hungary, to Poland," he said.
"Besides, we have the established train routes to Belarus, to the Baltic States, to the Baltic ports of Klaipeda and Riga," he noted.