Cash-starved UZ got a break Wednesday when the State Regulatory Service approved cargo rate increases designed to bring in an extra $500 million over the next 18 months.

Starting in September, grain and iron ore rates go up 8%. Near year, grain rates go up another 6.5%. Rates for iron ore, coal and cement go up 20.4%. UZ supervisory board member Serhiy Leshchenko calculates the DTEK will have to pay an extra $37 million to move coal and Metinvest will have to pay an additional $120 million to move iron and steel. By gradually merging rates for different cargo classes, UZ hope to stem the loss of ‘expensive’

Due to poor track conditions, Ukrzaliznytsia’s ‘high speed’ elite trains run at 100 km an hour, 65% of their rated capacity,

 Alexander Kamyshin, the new acting CEO of the state railroad, tells Interfax-Ukraine. Despite these limitations, Kamyshin plans to expand the service to more regional capitals, starting with Cherkasy next year. He says: Oour task today is to get Intercity service to those regional centers that are not yet covered by high-speed railway communication.” For comparison, UZ’s freight trains average 35 km/hour.

With rivers of grain starting to flow from the fields of Ukraine, Ukrzaliznytsia is not prepared to move the record harvest to the Black Sea ports

, warns Alexander Kamyshin, the new acting CEO of the state railroad. Barely one quarter of the railroad’s 11,400 grain wagons are useable, he says. “As of July 9, only 15% of the planned repairs were completed,” he said, explaining the large number of idled wagons. “The problem with locomotives arose due to the fact that all the necessary running parts for repairs were not purchased on time.”

Ukrzaliznytsia is selling two bears to a Dutch zoo as part of a program started last month to sell ‘non-core’ assets.

 The bears were housed at the Zaporizhia Children’s Railway. They are being transferred to the Ouwehands zoo in Rhenen, Utrecht. The zoo recently reopened its renovated ‘Bear Forest’. “I knew for sure that in the process of selling non-core assets there would be…but I definitely did not expect bears,” Ivan Yuryk, Acting CEO of the state railroad, writes on Facebook. Beyond bears, UZ has identified 182 non-core assets for sale through ProZorro.Sale.