Ukrainian railways offer 20% discount for cargo to Mariupol and Berdyansk ports
The measure might help divert cargo traffic towards both ports, but the real issue is the entry/exit into the small Sea of Azov.
Russian customs officials and border guards are inspecting practically all ships entering the Azov Sea via the Kerch Strait and heading towards Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk, the head of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service Petro Tsyhykal said in April.
Ukraine’s Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons said that Mariupol port, Ukraine’s largest in the Azov Sea, has lost 33% of its fleet and up to 140,000 tonnes of exported metal products a month due to construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait and the restrictions on passage of ships, whose height exceeds 33 metres, imposed after its construction.
In 2018, the port of Berdinsk lost some 840,000 tonnes of cargo.
Vessels of Panamax type cannot pass through the Kerch canal between the Black and Azov Seas.
With the restrictions on the movement of vessels, the canal bottom is growing shallow and silting up.
Mariupol port has a cargo transshipment capacity of up to 21 million tonnes per year, but after the Russian occupation of the east of Ukraine, the port’s capacity was reduced by two thirds. ■