SAMSUN, February 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and Turkey officially opened the first railroad ferry link across the Black Sea at a ceremony attended by the country’s transport ministers on Tuesday.
The agreement establishing a rail-ferry link between the port of Caucasus in south Russia and the Turkish Black Sea port of Samsun was signed in May 2010.
“The ferry has been operated since December 2010 in a test mode. Its freight capacity last year alone increased threefold to over 40,000 tons,” Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said at the launch ceremony.
The ferry service’s capacity is expected to grow to 100,000 tons a year by the start of next year, Sokolov said.
The ferry allows “delivery of cargo from Turkey to Russia and the countries of Central Asia and back in the shortest time possible and with the least cost,” rail monopoly Russian Railways said in a statement.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.