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2017 April 10

Yevpatoria makes it to reconstruction

State expert evaluation authority Glavgosexpertiza has approved the project on reconstruction of the commercial seaport of Yevpatoria for RUB 525 mln. IAA PortNews finds out that it will cover only part of the port’s demands — repair of passenger piers and a cargo berth handling sand. For a comprehensive development of the port it is supposed to be converted into a passenger terminal but this will require an additional billion of roubles for construction of protective facilities to prevent the damage of small size vessel during the stormy weather. 

What is this port about

In soviet and post-soviet times the port was among the leaders in Crimea in all respects as it was the closest to Ukraine. Turkey used to deliver Ro-Ro cargoes — trucks with construction materials, fruit, vegetables and consumer goods. Then they were transported to Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Vessels were waiting for their turn to enter the port about 5–6 hours. Turkey was going to build a cargo base in Yevpatoria and to develop the ferry service.

The situation changed in 2014 following the well-known events. The port’s closeness to Ukraine is not an advantage anymore. Now, it is the most remote port from Russia’s mainland. All goods to Crimea are delivered via the port of Kerch as it is the closest to Russia. The situation aggravated because of the conflict with Turkey which almost stopped delivering its goods via Crimea. In 2016, the port of Yevpatoria saw only one Turkish ship with goods for Crimea 2,500 t of dry building mixes. It should be noted that it was the only call at the port at all. The year of 2017 saw no calls yet.

Sand transshipment

From 2014, the port has been living primarily on transshipment of sand and servicing of passengers. 27 km from Yevpatoria is the port’s remote district located on the Donuzlav lake. Simferopol based company Yuzhny Soyuz owned by local businessman Sergei Klochkov excavates sand from the lake bottom. Two portal cranes on the northern spit of the lake transship sand from the vessels to the trucks for further distribution across Crimea.

In 2016, the port handled 356,000 t of sand while its capacity is about 1.3 mln t. As IAA PortNews learnt from the port, the reconstruction foresees the extension of the berth and development of the territory for installation of the third crane. Acquisition of the crane is not included into the programme. If it is acquired, the capacity of the cargo berth will grow to 2 mln t per year. Apart from sand the berth can handle unit loads and inert cargo.

Passenger transportation

The port owns three passenger ships including two vessels out of operation (Tavrika and Burevestnik). The Yanina ship for 220 passengers is undergoing the repair to be prepared for the navigation. In 2016, the Yanina  carried 18,505 passengers. The ship is deployed for daily sea voyages and for delivering passengers to/from the port of Sevastopol twice a week.

As the port told IAA PortNews, the reconstruction project provides for the repair of three passenger piers to ensure favorable conditions for boosting passenger traffic up to 50,000 for season.

Two of the three piers are out of operation as they are in critical condition (the Sad Karayeva pier on the V. Tereshkova embankment and the Novy Plyazh pier on the Simferopol street. The only pier in operation is the Park Frunze on the Gorky embankment.

Upon completion of the reconstruction the port is going to attract private ship owners for tourist voyages. They will pay the port for using its piers and will have to obtain licenses for this activities (most of carriers in Crimea work illegally). The find tourists via internet and use boats to deliver them to vessels at the off-harbour anchorage.

Commercial port to become a passenger terminal

Finances for reconstruction are provided for under the federal programme for social and economic development of Crimea and Sevastopol. It is to be completed in 2020. However, as IAA PortNews was informed, the allocations foreseen under the programme will cover only part of the port requirements. The port’s development programme suggests its conversion. Amid the challenges of servicing the international cargo and inability to handle hazardous cargo (the port is located in the resort area), the commercial port is going to undergo conversion into a passenger and cruise port. Cargo transshipment can be developed on the Donuzlav lake, both on the northern and the southern spits where port infrastructure is out of use today.

However, construction of protective structures is required to create a passenger port. As of today, small size vessels cannot stay docked in the port as they risk being damaged when hitting the pier walls during the stormy weather. IAA PortNews found out that this will require about a billion of roubles apart from the finances foreseen by the federal programme. Besides, the passenger terminal building also requires capital repairs. Today, it is used by border guard and customs services. 

The port does not reveal its financial results (state unitary enterprises are not obliged to). According to Federal Tax  Authority, total revenue of SUE Crimean Seaports grew to from RUB 1 bln to RUB 2.3 bln in 2015, while the loss of RUB 14 mln in 2014 grew to RUB 248 bln in 2015. SUE Crimean Seaports includes Yevpatoria, Kerch, Yalta and Feodosia.

The Port of Yevpatoria is headed by Oleg Koliyev. Before coming to Crimea in 2014, he used to work in Saint-Petersburg, at the North-West Department of the Border Services Agency being in charge of administering the check points of Big Port St. Petersburg, Murmansk, etc. 

Aleksandr Alikin

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