Implications of transfer
The ferry service of Crimea has been put under the jurisdiction of Crimean authorities. The property inventory is underway and a special company is to be established to run the service. However, the ferry service transfer to Crimea can mean negative consequences and shortcomings for its users.
On the other shore
On December 22, the meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Kozak came to a decision to comply with the request of Crimean authorities for a full responsibility for functioning of the Kerch ferry service which earlier was under the jurisdiction of RF Transport Ministry (ANO United Transport Directorate set up by RF Government and Transport Ministry on a parity basis).
ANO cannot carry on any business on its own so a 100% subsidiary Marine Directorate LLC was established by United Transport Directorate to manage the process of transportation. Both United Transport Directorate and Marine Directorate are registered in Temryuk (Krasnodar Territory).
Now, 100% of Marine Directorate LLC should fall under the control of Crimean authorities.
The Government of Crimea thinks that it is SUE RC Crimean Sea Ports that can take over the control. According to the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, any commercial enterprise or private entrepreneur, except for the state unitary enterprise (SUE) can fall in a commercial entity. So, SUE RC Crimean Sea Ports should now establish a limited liability company and hand over 100% of Marine Directorate LLC to it.
As IAA PortNews was told at the press center of Crimean Transport Ministry on January 15, 2015, the regional Government has not made a final decision on establishment of a special commercial entity yet. They are focused on the property inventory today.
The transfer of control to Crimea can cause some troubles and shortcomings. The berths of port Kavkaz are in free use of Marine Directorate LLC. As soon as Marine Directorate LLC is registered in Crimea (so that taxes go to the budget of Crimean Republic) the ferry services cannot be paid by Visa or MasterCard due to western sanctions against Crimea. If it is not but the parent company is registered in Crimea, the payment will also mean certain difficulties. As of today, the press center of Crimean Transport Ministry cannot say how the advance booking will be arranged in this context.
There are also problems on the opposite shore of the Strait – at Crimea seaport. This port, which is not in the list of RF seaports has the berths registered under the Ukrainian legislation. The legal issues should be solved before the facilities are handed over. Besides, the Federal Customs Service of Russia should set up rates that could pay for maintenance of the berths. However, a new federal law is to appear as no rates have been ever applied under Russian legislation here.
Meanwhile, United Transport Directorate says it will complete and pay for the repair of Berths No 3 and No 4 at port Krym (Crimea). UTD was going to collect port dues for the use of berths and spend the collected resources for reduction of the ferry service’s expenses (by some 20%).
The new managing company will have to look for methods of the ferry service’s self-financing, the maintenance costs are quite high.
United Transport Directorate is still responsible for transportation of passengers with travel cards during holiday season of 2015. So the new and the old management structures will have to interact closely.
According to RF Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, one third of tourists travelling to Crimea used the Kerch ferry service. The Minister says, transport system of Crimea has been successfully integrated into the Transport system of the Russian Federation.
According to the data provided by UTD, 2.8 mln passenger used the ferry service in 2014 (up 3.5 times, year-on-year). The number of vehicles surged 5-fold. As the relations with Ukraine are not likely to improve, the results of 2015 are expected to be at least as high as in 2014 which means a special responsibility for the new administration of the ferry service.
Nadezhda Malysheva, Vitaly Chernov.