The Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine (SACU) confirmed the illegality of the channel collection by the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA) for following vessels to the Quarantine and Lanzheronovskaya harbor of the Odessa sea port.
Such court decision of June 22, 2017 was published in the General State Register of Judicial Decisions of Ukraine on July 3, 2017.
The Supreme Administrative Court rejected the the cassation claim of the USPA with a request to abolish the court order of the Odessa Regional Administrative Court of 28.02.2017 and court order of the Odessa Administrative Court of Appeal of 05.04. 2017 on the basis of violations of substantive and procedural law.
The panel of judges concluded that the decisions of the Trial court and Appeal Court are legal and can not be canceled. The panel of judges resolved that courts, having checked the circumstances of the case comprehensively. The SACU fully reflect the circumstances of this case and resolved the dispute in accordance with the rules of substantive law and. The Supreme Administrative Court proves that the courts findings on the established circumstances and legal consequences are correct, and the arguments of the cassation appeal are not refuted.
The Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine confirmed the absence of grounds for charging fees for the following vessels to the Quarantine and Lanzheronovskaya harbors. The court held that when vessels call at quays of Quarantine and Lanzheronovskaya harbors, vessels don’t cross the canal and also don’t transit it. The crossing of the canal is the passage of a navigation obstacle and isn’t the use of a canal as a hydrotechnical construction. Ukrainian law doesn’t not provide the levy of channel due for crossing or partial use of the channel. The trial court came to the right conclusion about the illegality of the actions of the by the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority regarding the levy of a canal due when vessels follow the quays of the Quarantine, Lanzheronovskaya harbors of the Sea Port of Odessa and Administrative Court of Appeal supported this decision.
President of Container Lines Association of Ukraine Alexander Schekin noted that his colleagues rely on an immediate reaction of the acting head of the USPA Veckagans Raivis, who will cancel the illegal levy. This fact will become the most accurate marker of the real interest of the USPA in creating conditions for increasing the attractiveness of Ukrainian harbors and developing the container market, building long-term and partnership relations with business representatives.
The head of law company LeGran.TT, Tatyana Titarenko emphasize that the decision of the The Supreme Administrative Court confirms the legitimacy of the position of LeGran.TT. In this case law firm represents the interests of the world’s largest linear operators in Ukraine. Mrs. Titarenko considers that a number of expert opinions of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine, State Project Development and Research Institute of Marine Transport Chernomorniiproekt, State Research and Development Institute of the Merchant Marine of Ukraine, the Odessa Maritime Academy, the decisions of the Business Ombudsman and positive judicial practice proves the only correct decision for USPA officials is to follow the courts’ decisions and abolish illegal order No. 37 of 08 October 2016 about the levying of the channel due. This will bring the situation accordance to law and put an end to a long-term conflict with business.
The case was accompanied by director Tatyana Titarenko and lawyer Danil Hristich.
Earlier, the largest container operators authorized one of the leading companies in branch of marine law LeGran.TT to represent their own interests in the conflict with the USPA regarding the charging of the channel due. Acting head of the USPA promulgated the “separate order” No. 37 from August 10, 2016 which illegally obliged the head of the Odessa office to levy the canal due from the ships following to Quarantine, Cabotage, New Harbor. In addition, they began to levy the canal due for the vessels following to Lanzheronovskaya harbor.
LeGran.TT engaged all legitimate mechanisms to protect the rights of its customers. The company’s lawyers collected a unique evidence base, expert opinions of State Project Development and Research Institute of Marine Transport Chernomorniiproekt, State Research and Development Institute of the Merchant Marine of Ukraine, the Odessa Maritime Academy, the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which confirmed the illegality of the collection of the due. The Council of the Business Ombudsman also recognized the illegality of the order of the USPA for surcharges of the channel due for crossing the approach channel by vessels following to the above harbors of the Port of Odessa.
The legal proceedings between USPA and the largest container lines last about six months. LeGran.TT has proved the defiance of USPA actions in the courts of the court of original jurisdiction and appellate instances.