Having lost most of its maritime links with European countries, Moscow has been developing its ties with Turkey. A new sea route has been opened across the Black Sea and more will follow
For several years already, shipping services have been operating between Sevastopol, in annexed Crimea, and Latakia, one of the two main ports in Syria, Moscow’s main ally in the Middle East. Moscow now needs to run more services to/from its Black Sea and Pacific ports.
In late April, Infotech-Baltika, a St Petersburg-based ship operator, connected the Russian port of Kavkaz with that of Karasu in Turkey with a new ro-pax ferry service.
BARBAROS, deployed by the company under the flag of the Comoros, is capable of carrying up to 70 road trains (double trailer combinations). It takes the ferry eight days to make a round trip, with US$2,950 being quoted as the cost of a one-way trailer shipment.
The Russian authorities are considering a launch of the ro-pax ferry line between the country’s largest Black Sea harbour of Novorossiysk and Istanbul. There are also plans to link Sochi, Russia’s key Caucasian resort, with Turkey’s Trabzon or Samsun.
In April, Tuapse, another Russian Black Sea port, began handling export cargoes through its ro-ro terminal. Since it was put into operation more than 10 years ago, the facility has handled only imports
All the projects are supposed to break up Moscow’s growing isolation, according to First Vice-Premier Andrey Belousov. “Russia’s geopolitical adversaries are striving to isolate the country from the global economic system,” he said. However, they will “fail to blockade the world’s sixth largest economy.”
Belousov added that additional services will be started to connect the Russian Pacific port of Vladivostok with Chinese harbours and new ships will be deployed on the line linking Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad with the mainland.