Reconstruction comes to Kerch
The Port of Kerch which handles some 70% of all goods bound for Crimea embarks on RUB 1.2 bln reconstruction in 2017. That will let start handling containers, 110,000 TEUs per month. The port is set to become a gateway in the nearest 5–10 years and to service freight flows on the Caspian Sea – Volga-Don Canal and Kerch – Black Sea – Istanbul routes, etc.
Glavgosekspertiza (Russia’s General Board of State Expert Review) has approved the project on reconstruction of Kerch seaport under the Federal Targeted Programme providing about RUB 1.2 bln. The project is focused on creating conditions for loading/unloading of dry bulk and general cargo as well as warehousing operations with containerized cargo.
As the port told IAA PortNews, major reconstruction works include modernization of Berth No 6–7 handling dry bulk and general cargo (crashed stone, sand, metal scrap, coal, sulphur, ilmenite) and construction of Berth No 7 for handling and storing of containers.
The port currently numbers seven berths with total length of 1,300 metres and capacity of 220,000 –250,000 t per month (including 150,000 – 200,000 t being handled at Berth No 6–7). Berths No 1, 3 and 4 handle grain, Berth No 2 is used for mooring of vessels, Berths No 4 and 5 service three freight ferries operating between the ports of Kerch and Kavkaz (Krasnodar Territory). Those ferries are not the ones referred to when speaking about “the ferry service between the mainland Russia and Crimea”.
The merchant seaport is located in the city of Kerch while the ferry service used for transportation of passengers, passenger cars, trucks and railcars is located in the suburb. That ferry service is also owned by the merchant seaport of Kerch but is rented and run by Maritime Directorate LLC, its performance is not included in the port’s statistics.
Dredging works and containers
New Berth (7А) with a length of 238 metres will be able to handle 50,000 TEUs per month. When the second phase of reconstruction is completed (under the project) its capacity will be increased to 110,000 TEUs per month. Dredging works are also foreseen by the project. The depth at the berth is 5.8 m today allowing for handling vessels of up to 6,000 –7,000 t in capacity. The first phase implies dredging to 8.5 m that will let accommodate vessels of up to 15,000 t, the second one – to 9.75 m allowing for accommodation of vessels with capacity of up to 30,000 t.
Grain bound for the mainland of Russia accounts for some 40–50% of cargo handled at the port with metal scrap accounting for 30%, the rest made by inert cargo (sand and crashed stone) and general cargo. According to rough estimates, the port of Kerch together with the ferry service handles some 70% of all goods delivered to Crimea. About 15% of cargo is handled at the fishery port of Kerch (part of SUE Crimean Sea Ports) with the rest 15% handled by other port of the peninsula — Kamysh-Burun and Sevastopol (not part of SUE Crimean Sea Ports) and the ports of Yevpatoria, Feodosia and Yalta.
Throughput of Kerch seaport
2014 – 433,800 t
2015 – 2,161,500
2016 – 1,022,700
Throughput decrease in 2016 is attributed to favorable conditions created for carriers on the so-called short leg between port Kavkaz and the port of Kerch, where the ferry service is located. Part of goods earlier carried by the long leg (to the port in the city of Kerch) was shifted to the ferry service. Besides, Kamysh-Burun port decreased the rates in 2016 and took over part of the cargo flow from the port of Kerch.
The port’s future
As Nikolai Zelenkevich, Acting Director of the port, told IAA PortNews, the tender for port reconstruction will be announced in 2017, the works are to be completed in 2020. When the bridge across the Kerch Strait is built (the highway is to be opened in late 2018, railway – in late 2019), the port will still handle grain, containers and general cargo.
With its location, the port is an ideal gateway, believes Nikolai Zelenkevich. In the coming 5–10 years, the port is set to boost its cargo flows with the goods carried by the Caspian Sea – Volga-Don Canal and Kerch – Black Sea – Istanbul routes, etc.
In the future, the port is going to handle imported consumer goods and food. As of today, all import cargoes come to Crimea via Novorossiysk and all voyages are registered as short-sea traffic. So far, there are agreements with foreigners.
The port does not reveal it financial results. SUE Crimean Sea Ports does not provide the results per its branches. According to Nikolai Zelenkevich, the port of Kerch saw no loss-making years after 2014. It should be noted that most of Crimean Sea Ports showed losses in recent years.