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December 16, 2011 marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of rail-ferry service between the shores of Ukraine and Georgia. Over the years, this route carried more than 11.3 million tons of cargo and 102,000 passengers.

HOME WAS DIFFICULT

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This date preceded the considerable efforts of the Ukrainian government and transportation agencies, inaugurated by the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma and Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze. Back in the mid 90s the two leaders made a political decision to be closely involved in the revival of "The Great Silk Road" section of the sea which was to become a regular ferry service Illichivsk-Poti.

First flights ferry company "Ukrferry" from Ilyichevsk in Poti and from the absence of the ferry bridge in Georgia were not cost effective. But the company has been working for the future by investing their own money in the development of line and increasing the number of flights to ferry cargo to attract new foreign investment and the creation of coastal infrastructure. Proper investment of more than 2.5 million have done their job - just a year of the new line of the European Union has allocated a grant of 15 million ECU for the development of the offshore section of TRACECA. Ferry Building bridges in Batumi (1998), and then in Poti (1999), which are connected in a network railways in Europe and Asia, have opened a whole new field for cooperation between the two continents. A new alternative route is shortened terms of rail transportation from Asia to Europe by 30 percent. Profit for the cargo from the use of this line became apparent.

Thus, if the first two years of operation of ferry ferry "Ukrferry" was carried about 100 tons of cargo in 1999 after the discovery of the complex in Poti ferry traffic volumes rose to 300,000 tons. Since the opening of the bridge the ferry to Poti to the Ukrainian ferryman joined and their Bulgarian counterparts, "Shipping BMF blood pressure, and the geography of transportation, and expanded to the Bulgarian port of Varna. In subsequent years, annual turnover has increased by 15-25 percent in 2004 exceeded one million tons. Its maximum - 1.2787 billion tons during those 15 years, traffic volume reached in 2007. But then the global financial crisis has affected international trade and, accordingly, on turnover ferry, which dropped to 864,200 tons in 2009. Last year, this recession has been overcome and traffic began to return to pre-crisis level. In 2010, the ferry transported in 1019, seven thousand tons. Similar figures are expected this year.

CARS swim across the Black Sea

If you look at the range of goods transported, it is safe to say that the ferry has become a powerful factor in the development of economic cooperation between the BSEC and GUAM, the ability to increase production for many companies in the Black Sea region.

For example, if in 2000, Ukraine has supplied via ferry to the markets of the South Caucasus 27 thousand tons of metal and metal products, then the next - 53 thousand a large extent, increased the transport of grain: 2.1 tons in the year 2000 and 18.6 in 2001, and various cereals: 2.9 in 2000, and 6.7 in 2001. Among the food highlights the transportation of salt. In 1999, they were minor, were common on the graph and not allocated to a special group. One year later, cargo of salt was 26.3 thousand tons, indicating a significant increase in its use in agro-industry in Georgia. In the same period, more than twice the transport equipment increased and amounted to 6.4 thousand tons.

In turn, Ukrainians are increasingly giving preference to wines and mineral water from Georgia. Greatly increased supply of mineral water "Borjomi". In each flight are cars with mineral water from the well-known source.

It is worth emphasizing that at present the trade turnover between Ukraine and Georgia shows steady growth. Only the first 9 months of 2011 compared to same period last year, turnover rose by 40%. Ukraine confidently occupies the third place, after Turkey and Azerbaijan, among the major trading partners of Georgia. The share of Ukrainian exports accounted for 40% of imported food to Georgia, 89% - of vegetable oil, 77% - of tobacco, 36% - of chocolate, 96% - metal and metal products. Basically, these products are delivered via ferry.

grows and the number of heavy vehicles that use the ferry to cross the Black Sea. Since last year, this cost-effective and efficient route used 7496 car. But if the cargo decks of ferries "Ukrferry" still have free space for vehicles and cars, the passenger cabins of ships are almost always filled to capacity. In the past year carried 10,450 passengers.

Due to this fact must be noted and the social factor is the existence of a regular ferry line. Contacts between the inhabitants of the Caucasus and Ukrainian Black Sea every day expanding and deepening. This process greatly contributes to the program of trade-economic, scientific-technical and humanitarian cooperation between the Odesa region and Adjara Autonomous Republic, signed in 2005 the head of the Odessa Regional State Administration Vasyl Tsushko and Chairman of the Government of Adjara Levan Varshalamidze.

It should be noted that the activities of ferrymen Odessa, Ukrainian and Georgian railway and ports to ensure the effective operation of the offshore section of the "Great Silk Road" to a large extent affects the cooperation of GUAM regional grouping. It is through ferry Moldova has found a market in the South Caucasus a meal intended for feeding fowl on many poultry farms.

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In recent years, greatly increased the flow of goods through the next ferry and Georgia to Armenia. For this country's ferry line, given its complicated relations with Azerbaijan, has become one of the few transportation routes connecting Armenia with CIS countries, Central and Western Europe. Today in Armenia via ferry arrives metal Ukrainian, Polish coal tar pitch Czech, Slovak paper, German and Ukrainian construction materials. In turn, through the steam to the markets of the CIS receives Armenian brandy, jam and fish products.

growing popularity of the TRACECA program and its future development in this direction to a large extent affected the position of the EU and the U.S. that have made a lot of money for the reconstruction of the Caucasian railway. You can say that "Ukrferry" took part in this process, since it is by ferry from Ilyichevsk and Kerch in Georgia delivered thousands of tons of sleepers and rails, wheel sets and brake pads, creosote, as well as construction materials for modernization of railway from Poti to the eastern borders of Georgia.

Importance of the transport observed in our work parliaments of Bulgaria, Ukraine and Georgia, which in 2000 passed a law on the ratification of the agreement between the governments of these countries on joint exploitation of railway - ferry between the ports of Varna, Poti / Batumi and Ilyichevsk. In these documents, Odessa Shipping Company "Ukrferry" and the Bulgarian "BMF" is defined as transport enterprises engaged in rail-ferry service between the ports of the Black Sea in the framework of the tripartite agreement.

Opening Ferry Complex in Batumi, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said that Georgia's Ukrainian ferry opened a window to Europe. And during the official visit of President of Ukraine to Georgia in 2001, Leonid Kuchma, remembering the problems associated with lack of fuel for the harvesting, noted that the ferry was in Ukraine, "Dear Life", providing a short time and under favorable conditions, the regular delivery of fuel from Azerbaijan.

Very promising from the standpoint of the European Union, and the development of communication via ferry service between the countries of the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Balkans on the one hand, and the Baltic States, Scandinavia, on the other. The first cars with cargo in both directions came in the early years of the ferry line, but a milestone on the way to become a transport corridor Odessa-Gdansk. The main directions of activity are determined by the Presidents of Ukraine and Poland. Undoubtedly, this train is expected, and supplies to the Caucasus and the Balkans, which will make a real movement corridor not only to Odessa, and, by agreement between the parties to the ferry service even before the external borders of Georgia, and eventually to Central Asia .

According to specialists EU turnover within EATC could reach 20 million tons. These perspectives are welcome and for the EU, both for cargo over the world who are saving time and means, with several options for delivery or receipt of goods.

For Georgia, which occupies a unique geographical position, the issue of handling this traffic depends on the capacity of its own transport infrastructure. But Ukraine and Bulgaria, in spite of the already-established work of ferries, and have put a lot of extra effort to compete with countries of transit opportunities of competing in the Black Sea, in particular with Romania and Turkey. And the struggle for this transport freight costs in the tens of billions of dollars every year becomes more acute.

SEARCHING FOR RESERVES

In general, we are satisfied with the results of its activities on the marine section of the "Great Silk Road" - summed up the results of the ferry service between the shores of Georgia and Ukraine during the passing today in Tbilisi, the Board of Directors of the Black Sea joint exploitation of railway ferries president of the SC "Ukrferry" Alexander Kurland. Growing traffic volumes indicate that we are on the right track. But, in my opinion, these amounts could be higher. Constraints are known, they are often called on the international transportation conferences and meetings of the board ferries. First of all, it's barriers at border crossings, which are now not only interfere with transport operators the Black Sea region, but also the development of international cooperation. Various memos have long defined the course of the unification of the Crossing borders the Black Sea countries and bring them to civilized standards. The implementation of these plans, of course, will have an impact on the growth of trade between the Black Sea countries and the turnover on the ferry.

On the other hand, - the president continued his comment "Ukrferry" - at times affects turnover and "nonmarket" behavior of participating agencies, often clumsy in making charging decisions or taking such decisions, guided only by their own interests. Limit "uz" to use their cars for export shipments or, for example, excessive port charges at the port of Poti, do not contribute to the growth in traffic, and create new problems as cargo owners, transport workers and colleagues. However, I have no doubt These questions and many others, will eventually be solved as early as next year, traffic will return to pre-crisis level of 1.2 million tons. Although this figure is only an intermediate step. The potential for the ferry line to date is on the boundary of two million tons. So we have to strive and work to do.

Not by Bread Alone

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Developing offshore section of the Eurasian transport corridor, "Ukrferry" has always been committed to the main goal of the "Silk Road": the creation of a single economic, legal and cultural environment in the Black Sea region. Support for cultural activities and creative projects Odessa sailors at first glance, far from their core business, freight and passengers. But, as life shows, that the mutual enrichment of cultures and spiritual association, based on centuries-old friendship between the Ukrainian and Georgian peoples, is the most reliable foundation for the development of economic relations.

Therefore SC "Ukrferry" together with the Embassies of Georgia in Ukraine and Ukraine in Georgia, Ukraine Consulate in Batumi regularly organizes trips to Georgia group of journalists, open-air artists in Adjara, supports the work of Ukrainian-language Sunday school in Poti and the first Ukrainian school Grushevskogo name in Tbilisi, together with the Russian magazine "October" and the Ministry of Culture of Georgia became the organizer of the festival "Silk Road of poetry," which was successfully held in Odessa, Poti and Batumi.

Great response in Ukraine and Georgia brought the action "Ukrferry" for the organization in December 2000, a 10-ton parcels Mandarin for children's homes and large families affected by the disaster in the northern parts of the Odessa region. It was after the organization of Odessa sailors of charity among the leaders of the Odessa region and the Autonomous Republic of Adjara was born the idea of ??establishing a sister city relationship between the two regions of the Black Sea.

Reliability transport line between the ports of Ukraine and Georgia due to a large extent also by personal ties of friendship and cooperation that is sufficient to say that almost all managers of ports and marine economic complex enterprise Georgian Black Sea region at different times, check out the Odessa Institute of Marine Engineers. In Poti and Batumi more than 5 percent of the population are Ukrainians.

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