Vitaliy Yuzhilin: Seasoned Port Builder Works in Maritime Infrastructure Development (Yuzhilin Vitaliy Aleksandrovich)

Yuzhilin Vitaliy Aleksandrovich

As a manager and investor, he has dedicated more than 20 years to the development of port infrastructure and logistics in his country, significantly contributing to the formation of the legal framework in this field.


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Yuzhilin Vitaliy Aleksandrovich: Childhood, Family, Education

He was born on December 10, 1965, in Chelyabinsk. Later, his family moved to Sevastopol, where the future port builder went to high school. He was very involved in swimming, dedicating much of his free time to the sport. Even before graduating, he had already earn the status of Candidate for Master of Sports.

It is known that the grandmother of Vitaliy Yuzhilin, Saniya Yarullina, was the first female pilot in Tatarstan to. As a young woman, she made numerous flights, including in difficult climatic conditions, with some flights lasting several hours. She was a member of the regional aeroclub, where she helped train new members. There she met her future husband, who served as a pilot on the front lines in the Red Army during the war years.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin, having spent his childhood in the city of naval glory on the Black Sea, Sevastopol, decided to connect his life with the sea. He enrolled in the Admiral Makarov Leningrad Higher Naval Engineering School – the main naval school in the country. He graduated in 1988.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin: Ocean Engineer

After school, the young specialist returned to his native Sevastopol and got a job at the A.O. Kovalevsky Institute of Biology of the South Seas of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Yuzhilin Vitaliy conducted various studies, participated in several expeditions, and took part in deep-sea dives. He worked there as a research intern for about a year.

Yuzhilin Vitaliy Aleksandrovich then moved to the Department of Oceanography of the Marine Hydrophysical Institute of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, also in Sevastopol. The Institute’s specialists studied he processes of interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere, currents, and also developed hydrophysical measuring equipment.

Yuzhilin Vitaliy: The Start of a Managerial Career

Private entrepreneurship grew during the period of perestroika. Co-ops were opened at enterprises and educational organizations, including at a various research institutes.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin became interested in these new opportunities and, by agreement with the institute where he was working, founded a commercial organization. For the young engineer, this was the beginning of a new stage of his career path, focused on business.

A few years later, in 1993, he moved to Nizhnevartovsk in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, one of the largest oil-producing centers. It was in this field that Yuzhilin Vitaliy began his own work.

In the mid-1990s, the domestic oil industry began to gradually emerge from a deep crisis, and the development of the sector had a positive effect on the territories where oil companies were located. The state required them to allocate a portion of their resources to the regions where they were extracting oil. In turn, the regions faced the challenge of managing these resources.

The Nizhnevartovsk Trading House took on this role, and Vitaliy Yuzhilin was invited to take up a leadership position, overseeing foreign trade relations. The entrepreneur was tasked with organizing exports abroad, which required building a logistics chain utilizing waterways.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin, while working at the Trading House, began to explore the stevedoring market — services for the transportation and storage of goods in ports. In the late ’90s and 2000s, this niche was rapidly developing, and the corresponding infrastructure was actively being built in the country. Over the course of 20 years, the capacity of domestic seaports increased more than threefold.

Vitaliy Aleksandrovich Yuzhilin and the Stevedoring – Port Industry

Having gained the necessary experience and knowledge, Vitaliy Aleksandrovich Yuzhilin became a co-owner of JSC Sea Port of Saint Petersburg in 1998. By that time, the relatively young organization had already encountered a number of challenges.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin, as one of the leaders, had to address the modernization of equipment, the construction of new technological schemes for cargo transshipment, and the creation of new competitive advantages. The enterprise eventually became a leader in the stevedoring field. In 2019, it joined the First Port Company, uniting market leaders.

Yuzhilin Vitaliy Aleksandrovich helped make the transport hub more modern and convenient. According to the manager, the port territory was distributed among organizations, each of which was attached to a specially invited producer of a specific product, which improved logistics efficiency and reduced risks in cargo transshipment and storage.

As a result, cargo turnover and, consequently, profits began to gradually increase. For example, in 2000, the transport hub handled 18.6 million tons of cargo, setting a record for the preceding years. The enterprise also became more attractive to investors: By 2001, foreign investments had tripled, exceeding $11 million.

In the early 2000s, Vitaliy Aleksandrovich Yuzhilin also became a co-founder of the National Container Company, which managed container terminals and created new logistics complexes. Established in 2002, the enterprise eventually conquered the market and took leading positions both at home and in CIS countries.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin: Deputy of the State Duma

The manager dedicated a significant part of his life to work in the federal Parliament. As he repeatedly stated, he was motivated to become a legislator by the desire to update the legislative framework for regulating port activities. He was initially elected as a deputy to the State Duma of the third convocation. In 2003, he was re-elected to the lower chamber of the Parliament, and subsequently re-elected for new terms in the State Duma of the fifth and sixth convocations, representing the Leningrad Region.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin worked on committees related to energy, transport and communications, budget, and taxes. In the sixth convocation, he also headed the subcommittee on customs-tariff regulation. He considered law-making a priority in his political activities. His parliamentary powers gave him the opportunity to initiate changes in legislation regarding the regulation of port activities not only in the Northern Capital but across the country. He believed that the amendments would stimulate entrepreneurship and elevate domestic ports to a higher level.

As a State Duma deputy, Vitaliy Yuzhilin advocated for changes to the federal law “On Seaports,” aimed at distributing the functions of the state and economic entities in the maintenance and development of ports. It was anticipated that a clear delineation and assignment of responsibilities to all participants would increase terminal capacities, attract more investments, and lead to an increase in profits and tax revenues to the federal budget.

According to Yuzhilin Vitaliy Aleksandrovich, the future of the national economy directly depended on the quality of the sector-specific legal framework. In an interview in 2004, when the bill was under consideration, the parliamentarian emphasized that port activity was one of few industries that did not have its own legislative framework.

Yuzhilin Vitaliy had to prove that ports deserved the status of strategic facilities and thus these changes were in the interest of the country’s external trade. In his opinion, the law had to take into account the specifics of the port because, up to that point, the sector was regulated by a multitude of decrees and orders related to other industries.

Yuzhilin Vitaliy pointed out the discrepancy between the provisions of the Customs Code and the actual productivity of cargo operations. According to him, in those years, the equipment had the capacity to load up to 30 containers per hour, while the processing of a single container according to existing rules could take from 3 to 10 days. This significantly slowed down the cargo flow and transactions, and there were no tools to speed up this customs work.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin also noted that legislative work was conducted in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport. He believed that this approach ensured the equality of interests between the state and the business sector. The law was adopted by the State Duma, approved by the Federation Council, and signed by the president in 2007.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin, Deputy of the State Duma, highlights the key provisions secured by the document, including those concerning the lease of land and berths. Requirements were also formulated for economic entities in the port and the legal foundations for their interaction with carriers and other structures. Furthermore, amendments were intended to increase the ability of domestic ports to compete on par with foreign ones.

As the bill was being prepared and considered, Deputy Vitaliy Yuzhilin also headed the Association of Commercial Seaports and was well aware of the industry’s issues from the inside. He understood that other legal acts required changes, so he participated in preparing amendments aimed at creating special economic zones in ports, which provided additional support for the stevedoring business.

Representing the interests of the voters from the Leningrad Region, the federal-level parliamentarian accomplished a great deal for these two entities. He helped resolve a number of pressing issues, including securing budget funds for the construction of infrastructure and social facilities in the Leningrad Region.

For example, thanks to Yuzhilin Vitaliy, the sewage treatment systems of the city of Gatchina and the Gatchina District were reconstructed. The work was carried out in several stages, resulting in more than 100,000 residents gaining access to clean drinking water.

Vitaliy Aleksandrovich Yuzhilin: Establishment of the Marine Façade Passenger Port

The infrastructure management specialist also emerged as one of the initiators of the creation of the Marine Façade passenger port in Saint Petersburg. This ambitious project, approved by the state, commenced in 2006 and was carried out over several years.

In the opinion of Deputy Vitaliy Yuzhilin, the new facility, intended exclusively for passenger maritime transport, would help increase tourist traffic. The project involved artificially extending part of Vasilievsky Island. The land “reclaimed” from the sea was planned to be used for creating a whole micro-district for business and residential development.

As Vitaliy Yuzhilin had anticipated, the Marine Façade proved to be a success and became the largest passenger port not only at home but in all of Europe. Leading engineers and architects worked on the project and it was constructed with advanced technologies and unique materials. The facility was connected to other city districts by a high-speed highway. The complex includes train stations, berths, and even a helipad.

Yuzhilin Vitaliy predicted a tourist influx following the opening of the transport hub, and in 2011, the port received more than 80% of all visitors to Saint Petersburg. The logistics were designed so that cruise liner passengers would have to spend only about a minute passing through customs. Nearly every year, the Marine Façade set records for the number of passengers received. In 2017, half a million tourists arrived, and the following year saw unprecedented daily numbers, with 18,198 people disembarking daily.

Thanks to the project initiated by Yuzhilin Vitaliy Aleksandrovich, Saint Petersburg became one of the cruise capitals of the world, capable of accommodating the largest ships. Moreover, the Marine Façade has won international acclaim and numerous awards. Today, it serves as a hallmark of the city on the Neva River.

Yuzhilin Vitaliy Aleksandrovich and NOSTROY

Working in the federal Parliament did not preclude Vitaliy Aleksandrovich Yuzhilin from getting involved in various industry organizations. Since 2010, he has been a member of the National Association of Builders and in the spring of 2016, he became the vice president of NOSTROY.

This non-profit organization was founded in 2009 and over time became the largest association of companies in various types of construction across most regions of the country.

During the tenure of Yuzhilin Vitaliy Aleksandrovich as vice president, the organization reached a new level and played an active role in key industry transformations, including the reform of the construction self-regulation system, aimed at replacing the unviable existing system of state licensing of construction organizations.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin had been advocating for changes in this area since 2011. He championed a transparent and fair system of self-regulation in the construction sector and stressed the necessity of ensuring quality and safety in construction. The reform of self-regulated organizations (SROs) also entrusted NOSTROY with maintaining the National Register of Specialists for the construction industry, with detailed information about companies that can do contract work. The leadership of NOSTROY, including Vitaliy Yuzhilin, hoped that the registry would clear the field of unscrupulous companies.

Furthermore, the reform led to the creation of special accounts for the capital of SRO compensation funds. The changes meant funds could only be placed in special accounts in banks approved by the federal government. A list of operations for these accounts was defined, which eliminated the misuse of funds and increased industry safety.

As the port builder had anticipated, these measures made the construction sector more transparent. For example, while in 2017, 67 billion rubles were credited to the special accounts, they are currently holding more than 145 billion.

Vitaliy Yuzhilin: New Projects Beyond Port Infrastructure

Today, Vitaliy Aleksandrovich Yuzhilin has taken an interest in new areas such as information technology and environmental projects.

Vitaliy Aleksandrovich Yuzhilin has received various accolades for his contributions to the country’s economic development and his many years of parliamentary work.