Russia, Turkmenistan can expand ferry service in Caspian Sea
Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Oct. 19 / Trend H. Hasanov /
Turkmenistan intends to expand its ferry service with Russia in the Caspian Sea using the Astrakhan port of Olya, Russian media reports today referring to the Governor of the Astrakhan region Alexander Zhilkin.
"Intensifying communication between the ports of Turkmenbashi and Olya has been discussed," Zhilkin told Interfax-South agency after a meeting with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in Ashgabat. "The Turkmen President said that two ferries were ordered to be built in Croatia as I understand it, by late 2013. As a result, it will increase the transportation possibilities."
He said the Turkmen authorities intend to open a consulate office in Astrakhan. Its activity will cover Kalmykia, Krasnodar, Stavropol, Rostov and the Volgograd regions.
Over the past few years trade turnover between Turkmenistan and Astrakhan region has increased 10-fold.
Turkmenistan has recently established a relationship with the Guzhvin shipbuilding and ship repair plant which repairs dry cargo ships from Turkmenistan. The Caspian Sea Fishing College has trained Turkmen students. Ashgabat exports construction materials, particularly cement to Astrakhan.
The experts said that a direct rail ferry service between the Russian port of Olya near Astrakhan and Makhachkala with the port of Turkmenbashi, could ensure an increase in cargo flow from Turkmenistan to Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
Berdimuhamedov has repeatedly said that he stands for increasing the volume of rail and sea transportation in the region, including new routes.
It was previously reported that the Turkmen State Service of Maritime and River Transport has signed a contract for the construction and purchase of two car passenger ferries Ro-Pax with ULJANIK Brodogradiliste dd (Croatia).
At present the Turkmen merchant fleet has nine vessels, of which four dry cargo ships with a total capacity of over 13,000 tons and five river, sea tankers with a total capacity of 23,600 tons.
Turkmenistan is preparing for a radical modernisation of the Turkmenbashi international sea port on the Caspian Sea, designed to become a major hub of the global transit transport infrastructure passing through Turkmenistan.