Oleksiy Vadaturskyy: A Business Legend of Modern Ukraine

Oleksiy Vadaturskyy

Manager, Founder & Majority Owner of NIBULON: Oleksiy Vadaturskyy

NIBULON’s achievements in the global market and in complex investment projects are results of well-organised work, professionalism and long-term and consistent team efforts.

Also vital are the support of reliable partners – and the strategic vision of manager, founder and majority owner of NIBULON, Hero of Ukraine Oleksiy Vadaturskyy.

His life story is a whirlwind of success, achievements and challenges overcome. Here is his recipe for a successful business. Firstly, you need to come up with an idea and determine how to implement it and then you do so in such a way – for example – as to receive the Ukrainian State Prize for Architecture of the transshipment terminal in Mykolaiv. It is a story of responsible leadership and fortitude that can be a driving force behind positive changes in the country.

Oleksiy Vadaturskyy grew up in a village, in an ordinary family environment. He realised at a tender age that one has to work hard in order to achieve anything.

“My parents worked hard,” he says. “They have taught me to work since my childhood. This hard lesson helped me a lot.”
After graduation from the Odesa Technological Institute of Food Industry, Vadaturskyy was appointed chief power engineer for the construction of a Mykolaiv regional bread-producing plant. A few years later, he became the first deputy-general director of the Mykolaiv bread products department.

Soon he realised that there was no sense in working for the state enterprise. He had the knowledge, will, desire and creative approach, but little opportunity to take the initiative. He found partners and established NIBULON, joint Ukrainian-Hungarian-English agricultural enterprise (the name stands for the initial letters of NIkolaev – BUdapest – LONdon). The new enterprise was engaged in producing and selling hybrid corn and sunflower seeds of foreign origin.

But NIBULON faced new challenges, namely the dissolution of the Soviet Union – and consequently of the country’s agricultural production. It was a risky business for the western investors to get involved in Ukraine because of corruption, hyperinflation, collapse of kolkhozes (collective farms), land privatisation, economic stagnation, and unemployment. In post-Communist Hungary there was a difficult reformation and integration processes. It was proving impossible to attract foreign investors.

Oleksiy Vadaturskyy started developing NIBULON – at his own risk.

Experience had taught him that a business should be developed honestly, and exclusively within the law. Guided by such principles, NIBULON has established a good business-standing in Europe, and throughout the world. The company is an example of honesty, transparency and social responsibility. As a peer of the independent Ukraine, at different stages of the country’s development, the company and the country have overcome all obstacles to domestic and global markets.

“I always say that our company has had no defeats, but we have had a lot of obstacles that we have proudly overcome,” Vadaturskyy says.

The company continued to develop itself, annually increasing export volumes, constructing new complexes and terminals. At that time, Ukraine had a problem with the organisation of transport for agricultural commodities. Ukrzaliznytsia (the Ukraine national railway) failed to cope, and roads were in poor condition. “At the same time, the whole world used water transport because transportation by river is considered to be the cheapest in the world,” says Vadaturskyy, “but not in Ukraine.” He came up with an idea to change the country’s logistics system and to build a fleet. Due to the long decline in Ukraine’s shipbuilding, expansion of the fleet required the establishment of its own production facilities.

Here was a new stage of the development of NIBULON, the creation of its own shipbuilding enterprise.

“I work in the agrarian sector and it would seem I should be engaged exclusively in agriculture,” Vadaturskyy admits. “I thought so 15 years ago. I could not imagine that I would own the most modern private cargo fleet in Ukraine and the shipbuilding yard, which is being reconstructed. Upon the reconstruction, it will be the best shipyard in Europe. The problem with the transport of agricultural commodities changed my life.”

Ukraine’s vessels were re-registered under foreign flags, sold for a pittance – sometimes for scrap. The successful experience of Western countries, in particular cargo delivery along the Mississippi River in the USA, inspired Vadaturskyy to create the river infrastructure.

“Then there were ideas to acquire our own shipbuilding yard. As a result, we have built 71 vessels. In 2017/18MY, NIBULON’s shipping company transported 2.5m tons of cargo by inland waterways. In the near future, we plan to transport four million tons,” says Vadaturskyy.

The company’s successes in reviving Ukrainian rivers as transport waterways and redirecting grain and other cargoes from the roads have been recognised by Ukrainian and international experts. They agree that it is a unique case for an agrarian company – acting almost independently – to revive navigation and shipbuilding in a country.

In 2018, NIBULON celebrated another important victory. The National Maritime Rating Of Ukraine 2017 named Oleksiy Vadaturskyy the Person Of The Year 2017 for water transport. The organizers said it was the first time that the national transport community had recognised the absolute leadership in water transport of a person whose main business interests lie with another industry.

“Life dictates its rules,” he says. “To be a leader in the grain market, it is necessary to execute international contracts and raise the reliability of the company. To this end, it is necessary to build a fleet and possess a shipbuilding yard. I am deeply convinced that if you want to be successful, you must be successful in all your activities.”

Oleksiy Vadaturskyy admits that being the leader of a big team is a hard job. “You are responsible for the lives of other people who trust you. It is necessary to motivate them, to group them around your ideas. It is impossible to be irresponsible in the business to which you have devoted your whole life.

This is the simple secret of success.

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