• 2016 July 11

    Crimea will focus on tourists

    Maintenance of the infrastructure available in Crimea, reconstruction of its berths and servicing of cargoes intended for internal consumption will be among the priorities of seaports up to the commissioning of the Kerch (Crimea) Bridge. In the future the ports are supposed to become the centers of maritime recreation and tourism, agreed the participants of the Third Crimean Transport Forum in Alushta.

    Financing is going up but is quite unbalanced

    In 2016, financing for improvement of transport infrastructure in Crimea is increased by 30% to RUB 8.6 bln against RUB 6.6 bln in 2015, said Nikolai Vodorezov, Deputy Presidential Envoy to the Crimea Federal District, when speaking at the Forum.

    Several large scale transport sector's projects are in full swing in the Crimea, the official said, among them the construction of transport passage through the Kerch Strait, development of Tavrida highway project, the overhaul and construction of new terminals at Simferopol International Airport.

    Meanwhile, Mikhail Bryachak, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Transport Committee, drew attention to insufficient financing of the port complex reconstruction and development, transport and navigation safety, construction of Tavrida highway which is to link Kerch and Sevastopol. 

    “Implementation of the programme is lagging when it comes to the schedule and the scope of works, except for the works on the bridge, stated Mikhail Bryachak.

    The speaker emphasized unbalanced investments. For example, the port of Yalta will get over RUB 2.5 bln of allocations for the construction of a passenger terminal while the cargo port in the area is in a poor state: only two old and low-capacity cranes are available there. 

    Quantity turns into quality

    Passenger flow at Kavkaz-Crimea ferry service shows a steady growth. “In 2015, passenger traffic exceeded 4,595,000 persons, in 2016 we expect the growth by 25-30% which is confirmed by the dynamics of the first half of the year,” said Andrei Bezsalov, Transport Minister of Crimea. 

    He marked not only the traffic but also the improvement of transport service quality: “In 2015-2016, Maritime Directorate has been doing a systematic work on repair and reconstruction of a shore infrastructure, it has created and is constantly improving an information system which has developed from solving a simple task of selling tickets to travel time planning. Today, the passengers can select a timeslot and use the ferry service without waiting in a line”. 

    Damir Yakvashev, Fieldwork Manager at Maritime Directorate LLC, told about the work currently performed for expansion of the ferry service capacity and improvement of its quality: reconstruction of the ports’ territory, expansion of the entrance/exit to/from port Kavkaz and port Krym. Maritime Directorate has also performed a quayside dredging, has increased the number of berths at port Krym and reconstructed berthing facilities for safe mooring of vessels. The company is also introducing an automated traffic control system. It will install traffic lights and traffic-control barriers for fully automated control of passenger cars and trucks using the ferry service. 

    However, Andrei Bazsalov said the Maritime Directorate has no long-term plans: “Its task is to work till 2019 when the Kerch crossing is operational. It will be then reorganized. First of all, we see its specialization as a sea club for tourists. We want to develop transportation of tourists, particularly by ferries”.

    Development of ports

    Cargo transshipment at the ports of Crimea totaled 4.8 mln t in 2015, said Crimea Transport Minister. According to him, the flow of general and dry bulk cargo fell to 1.8 mln t while the volume of cargoes carried by ferries increased considerably, to almost 3 mln t, which is almost as much as the total throughput in 2014.

    “When analyzing the demand of cargo owners we have come to a disappointing conclusion on no demand for bulk transport via Crimea, at least, in the scope that could serve a basis for a stable development in the Republic, — said Andrei Bazsalov. — Of course, there will be certain upsurge of cargo flows amid the implementation of the Federal Targeted Programme, for internal consumption. However, it would be strange to count on Crimea as a place of large scale transshipment of coal, metal, oil or other bulk cargoes. Hence the conclusion we make: transport strategy of Crimea should focus on transshipment and transportation of cargoes for domestic consumption in the region.” 

    Andrei Bazsalov estimates the cargo potential of Crimea at 15 mln t. He explained that 15 mln t is a possible throughput which can be handled by the infrastructure of Crimean ports today. When answering the question of IAA PortNews correspondent, Andrei Bazsalov said that this level can be reached as early as this year if there is sufficient cargo base. In particular, intensified activities on the Crimea Bridge construction will boost the transshipment of aggregates and construction materials: sand, crashed stone, concrete, metal structures. The Minister of Transport of the Crimea added that aggregates can make up to 90% of the total throughput.

    Aleksandr Burdonos, Head of the Commercial Department at SUE Crimean Sea Ports, said that before the Kerch Bridge is put into operation the main task of the state unitary enterprise would  be to maintain the existing infrastructure and to service the flow of cargo needed for construction of the Kerch Strait crossing and to implement the Federal Targeted Programme “Social and Economic Development of the Republic of Crimea till 2020.” 

    “Handling of the major flow of cargoes bound for Crimea, as well as transit, export and import cargo, is to be concentrated at Kerch seaport. For this purpose, berthing facilities of the Novy Mol are to undergo reconstruction within the framework of Federal Targeted Programme, dredging of the approaches to port Kerch is to be performed if necessary,” said the official. 

    When the Crimea Bridge is put into operation, the ports of Crimea are to be integrated into the system of transport flows of the Azov-Black Sea region, added Aleksandr Burdonos.

    Staking on tourism

    The new strategy of Crimean seaports development is focused on the development of maritime recreation and tourism. “In view of the Crimea specifics and special demands of the customers we distinguish the seaports as a basis for new recreation, tourism and entertainment opportunities”, explained Andrei Bazsalov. According to him, comprehensive development of the area adjacent to the port is foreseen, similar to the activities of the Maritime Directorate in the Kerch ferry service area. “Comfort for the passengers and the capacity is ensured not by the vessels but by the entire complex of facilities and their management system,” explained the Transport Minister. 
    He emphasized that today’s priorities require the development of the maritime yacht-club and creation of a Lux class yacht marina in Yalta, development of water sports centers in Yevpatoria and on the Donuzlav lake as well as the activities on organisation of marine tourism in port points of Big Yalta. 

    “In the future, Yalta seaport should become a  marine façade of Crimea, a service center for passenger traffic on the Southern shore of Crimea, for local passenger lines and for acceptance of cruise ships”, - explained Aleksandr Burdonos. — This will be possible only with the reconstruction of most berths and piers.” Reconstruction of hydraulic engineering structures of Yalta seaport’s passenger area is foreseen by the Federal Targeted Programme – RUB 2.625 bln is to be allocated under the programme in 2015-2020.

    Elena Tkacheva.