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Kerch sea passage unable to satisfy transportation needs — ministry

MOSCOW, July 15. /ITAR-TASS/. A large line of cars is waiting to be transported to Russia’s Crimea via the Strait of Kerch at the entrance of Russia’s port Kavkaz in the Taman region, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told ITAR-TASS after visiting the port.

On Tuesday, July 14, some 1,200 passenger automobiles were waiting for their turn in a line, extending from Russia’s Taman region to the port Kavkaz. The problems with the transportation capacity of the sea passage started at the beginning of July, the ministry’s press service reported.

Ferry-boats of different tonnage make 36-40 trips per day, transporting around 4,000 cars and 15,000-18,000 passengers, and despite operating at its best, the sea passage via the Strait of Kerch satisfies the need for cars transportation only from the Crimean port, but not vice versa, Sokolov said at the meeting with Russia’s Interior Ministry, Defense Ministry, Prosecution Office, regional administration of the Krasnodar Territory, port of Kerch and port of Temryuk, as well as JSC Russian Railways and ferry-boat owners.

“Due to the current high season at the sea passage, we need to create an operational group, which will meet at least once in three days and make quick and effective steps for resolving this problem”, the transport minister said. Officials from Russia’s Transport Ministry, Interior Ministry, United Transport Directorate, Krasnodar regional administration and Federal State Unitary Enterprise Rosmorport will be among the members of the operational group. Sokolov urged them to focus on transport capacity of the sea passage in the first place.

Russia’s Transport Ministry agreed with the Defense Ministry that the Kerch sea passage will be transporting only personal passenger cars. All military vehicles will be transported via the ports of Novorossiysk and Temryuk.