Since the first days Ukraine has proclaimed its independence the Institute on a systematic basis embarked on the creation of national legal base on the merchant shipping, progressively building up the national base of the legislative, normative and legal acts in the area of safety of navigation, commercial activity of the fleet and ports of the industry, inter-departmental relations with other types of transport and clientele, and international cooperation in shipping.
The Institute's specialists have developed a fundamental legislative act regulating legal relations in the sphere of merchant shipping The Ukrainian Code of Merchant Shipping. By order of the Moldavian and Georgian governmental organs UkrNIIMF has developed the drafts of the Moldavian and Georgian Codes of Merchant Shipping.
Possessing highly qualified personnel and necessary national and international legal data base, the Institute offers services to create legislative, normative and legal acts and normative guidelines on all aspects of primary activity of the fleet, ports, as well as the enterprises and organisations that service them
The UkrNIIMF's specialists have much experience of research as well as pedagogical activities (lectureship at educational institutions and at the Institute of higher qualification for managers of enterprises and leading specialists of the maritime transport). The results of studies carried out by the Institute's specialists are published in scientific transactions, specialized magazines and periodicals. Besides a number of books and monographs on the Institute's work subjects was published. In particular the Institute's specialists have prepared informational collections, handbooks and other special editions in the area of inland waterway shipping.
Modern methods of management of economic activities of the industry's enterprises in the market-economy conditions require substantiated structural transformations, the replacement of administrative methods of management with the economic ones based on a new legal foundation with the use of modern scientific methods of work-organisation planning.
These directions in the UkrNIIMF's activities as the head developer of the industry's legal base are the priority directions and cover all areas of economic activities of the fleet and ports. The Institute true to this concept of the industry's development has developed a new system of management of the Ukrainian ports and a package of legal documents for its implementation, prepared a bill "On the Ukrainian Seaports", "On the Ukrainian International Register of Shipping", etc.
By UkrNIIMF or with its participation a number of normative and legal draft acts such as the concept of creation of the Ukrainian state system of safe shipping, proposals for creation of the Ukrainian Maritime Administration, The Rules of Navigation on the Uh-Dnipro estuary canal, The Status of the Ukrainian Pilot Service, etc. have been prepared.
In the overall complex of work on the normative and legal support of the international shipping the problems of inland waterway transport feature prominently.
UkrNIIMF over the span of 30 years has been the industry's leading organisation on the normative and legal support of the international Danube shipping. The Institute has developed a new wording of the Bratislava Agreements that regulate international Danube services. The Agreements contain general terms and conditions of cargo carriage; large tonnage container carriage and swapping; tariff dues; reciprocal towage of ships and rendering assistance to them in emergency; reciprocal agency services for ships; repairs to fleet; the level of cooperation of the shipping companies the Parties to the Bratislava Agreements, etc.
In many cases special developments and recommendations by UkrNIIMF serve as the basis for the position of Ukraine at international and intergovernmental organisations such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations European Economic Commission (Committee on Inland Waterway Transport UN EEC), the Danube Commission, the European Conference of the Transport Ministers, the Conference of the Directors of the Danube Shipping Companies, etc. The UkrNIIMF's specialists as members of the Ukrainian delegation participate on a regular basis in the work of these international organisations. In particular the Institute's specialists have prepared a number of draft reports of Ukraine on honouring by the country of the obligations related to ILO maritime conventions, plans of organisational measures of implementing the IMO decisions by Ukraine, etc.
In the sphere of inland waterway transport at the level of international organisations there has been carried out work on:
UkrNIIMF by order of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Ukraine was been carrying out the industry's programs in the sphere of merchant shipping. In particular UkrNIIMF has developed "The Program of Stabilization and Development of the Maritime and River Transport of Ukraine to the Year 2005" and "The Program of Increasing the Safety of Shipping for the Years 1999-2001".