ArmInfo.The Armenian government intends to attract 2 ferryboats in order to activate the Poti - Novorossiysk ferry. The Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of the Republic of Armenia Suren Papikyan stated this on November 13, answering the question of the National Assembly member from the Prosperous Armenia faction Mikael Melkumyan.
The MP, in particular, pointed out that the throughput capacity of the Upper Lars checkpoint on the border of Russia and Georgia is capable of servicing up to 170 trucks, while up to 800 cars pass through the checkpoint. The Russian side allocated for the reconstruction of the road and the checkpoint 1, 9 billion rubles. Work will also continue on the Georgian section of the border. As a result, the number of serviced vehicles will be drastically reduced. For this reason, the MP called for urgent alternative solutions to the issue.
In response, Suren Papikyan stressed that he recently discussed this issue in Moscow with Russian colleagues. The problem of finding an alternative communication will become a topic of discussion during the upcoming Transport Week forum in Moscow on November 18-21. The Minister emphasized that there are unused ferries in Crimea that could be used to service the ferry crossing, and discussions are ongoing according to the most acceptable option. "The only thing I can say now is that the ball is in the court of our partners, "the minister said.
To note, according to ArmInfo, over the past year alone, 12,000 trucks, including from Armenia, passed through the Upper Lars checkpoint. Given that the checkpoint due to adverse weather conditions is idle for at least 40 days a year, we can conclude that 650 cars are serviced at the checkpoint every hour. The only land route from Armenia to Russia runs along the Stepatsminda (Georgia) - Upper Lars (Russia) highway. The Georgian side intends to begin construction of a new road leading to the borders of Russia by the end of this year. For this purpose, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided Georgia with a loan of $ 415 million. A 23-kilometer bypass road will run along the Kvesheti-Kobe route, which is part of the North- South transit corridor. After the completion of the project, transit traffic will be possible without hindrance at any time of the year. The length of the highway will be more than 22 kilometers, will consist of six bridges and five tunnels, including a nine-kilometer one. At the moment, the Georgian Military Road has 35 kilometers and is one of the most dangerous roads in Georgia. In winter, the road is closed due to the risk of landslides and avalanches. Earlier, ArmInfo reported that from November 22, 2018, Russian Railways and the Federal Tariff Service of the Russian Federation approved discounts for the transportation of goods along the Port Caucasus - Poti route for 2019 in the amount of up to 50%. Ferry cargo transportation on the route Port Caucasus - Poti took on a regular character only in February 2017 due to a significant increase in cargo traffic. However, recently the leadership of the ferry has again transferred its work to the "post fact" mode. This circumstance caused natural discontent on the part of the business community of Armenia, and due to ignorance of the circumstances of the issue, direct accusations are made against the SCR, although the ferry, as you know, belongs to completely different legal entities and does not have strict obligations neither to the railway carrier, nor the Republic of Armenia. The issue of involving a ferry that would serve the strategic interests of Armenia, regardless of market conditions, has been considered for over 10 years, but has not yet been resolved.