KIEV, May 18 (Xinhua) -- China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) signed a deal with the Ukrainian government here on Thursday to upgrade the Black Sea port of Yuzhny in Ukraine's southern Odessa region.
The agreement was inked by the Vice President of the CHEC Yun Liang and the head of the Yuzhny port administration Maksym Shyrokov.
Under the deal, the Chinese company will carry out dredging works at the Yuzhny port to increase the depth of its approach channel from 16 meters to 19 meters. Besides, the CHEC will create a 16-meter-deep operational area near the three berths of the port.
The dredging project is expected to improve the maritime access to the port, boosting its cargo handling capabilities.
While addressing the signing ceremony, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said the project is highly important for the country.
"This is a very large-scale project for Ukraine. It will increase the capabilities of our port of Yuzhny and creates additional opportunities for the development of the national economy," Groysman said.
The Ukrainian government has estimated that the implementation of the Yuzhny port dredging project will create about 350 new jobs and generate additional 16 million U.S. dollars annually for the state and regional budgets. It is also expected to boost the revenues of the port by about 9.2 million dollars per year.
According to the Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine Du Wei, the project will also pave the way for deepening cooperation between China and Ukraine in the infrastructure sector.
Meanwhile, Rayvis Veckagans, the head of Ukrainian State Seaports Authority, described the project, which is set to be completed within 38 months, as Ukraine's step towards joining China's Belt and Road Initiative.
"We have to become a part of this initiative. That's why our government and our companies working in the railway and automobile road sector must offer a comprehensive solution to make a transit corridor through Ukraine more competitive," Veckagans told Xinhua after the signing ceremony.
The Yuzhny port was ranked the largest Ukrainian port in the terms of cargo turnover in 2016, having reloaded 39 million tons of commodities.
The CHEC won the contract on upgrading the port worth 38 million U.S. dollars in mid-April, getting ahead of four leading dredging and marine services companies from Europe.