The Sevastopol seaport’s cargo transshipment volume fell from more than 6 million tons in 2013 to less than 200,000 tons in 2018 because of the imposition of international sanctions on enterprises operating in the Crimea and their partners following the annexation of the peninsula, the CFTS portal reports, citing the RZhD-Partner publication (Russia).

The Russian publication cited the so-called deputy governor of Sevastopol Ilya Ponomarev, who provided information about the volume of cargo transshipment in 2018.

The volume of transshipment of dry cargo at the Sevastopol seaport reduced by 32% in 2013, when the total cargo transshipment volume was 4.801 million tons. It reached 5.078 million a year earlier before falling to 1.123 million tons in 2014.

A fishing port that handled 1.927 million tons of cargo in 2013 (according to data from CFTS Consulting) was merged with the Sevastopol seaport after the Russian annexation of the Crimea.

The head of the Sevastopol government’s main control department, Sergey Yelizarov, told a press conference in Sevastopol in late January 2019 that local officials were deliberately bankrupting the Sevastopol seaport.

According to him, the Sevastopol seaport’s payables amounted to more than RUB 72 million in the first nine months of 2018, having increased by more than 200% since the end of 2017. At the same time, according to him, the seaport’s management costs increased by 45%. Vessels have been idling at the port without contracts or payments since August 2015 and private entities are using the port’s berths free of charge.

"The port’s assets are undervalued and more than 1,200 real-estate objects on the books of the seaport are valued at RUB 1," Yelizarov said.

Ponomarev did not deny these claims. According to him, the city has no money to perform market valuation of state assets and the Sevastopol authorities did not know what to do with the port because the volume of cargo transshipment has fallen dramatically and the port generates only losses because of sanctions.

In search of solutions to the Sevastopol seaport’s problems, local officials recently visited Syria, which is under economic sanctions by many countries. The Crimean authorities and representatives of the Syrian province of Tartus signed a cooperation agreement. Organization of cargo transportation, specifically about 6 million tons of cargo or more per year, is one of the areas of cooperation, Crimean officials said.

The Turkish tankers Maestro and Candy, which were seen illegally supplying gas to Syria, caught fire in the Black Sea last week. According to a decision that the United States’ Treasury department published in November, any transactions with these or other vessels involved in transportation of fuel to Syria could be grounds for imposition of sanctions.

As the CFTS portal reported earlier, the occupation authorities intend to launch direct flights between the Crimea and Syria. Crimea’s Prime Minister Sergey Aksenov sent a letter to Russian Minister of Transport Yevgeny Dietrich in November 2018, requesting support in organizing flights between Damascus and Simferopol.