The Kerch Strait bridge was designed to impose a blockade on Ukraine’s Sea of Azov ports, Oleksandr Oliynik, Mariupol port director, tells Nolan Peterson of the Daily Sentinel.
Its opening resulted in a 20% reduction in the heights of ships able to enter the Azov and a 31% reduction in cargo weights.
Prior to the bridge’s completion, Mariupol’s port received ships with air drafts of up to 41 meters. Now it is limited to no more than 33 meters. Moreover, Russia has imposed a 22,000-ton limit on the cargo loads of passing ships. That’s a lot less than the 32,000 tons of cargo ships calling at the Mariupol port routinely loaded per trip, Oliynik said, citing industry data. The Russian ships that pass through the Kerch Strait typically only carry cargoes of about 3,000 to 5,000 tons.
In 2007, through the Mariupol port annually passed about 17.5 million tons of cargo, now that number dropped to only about to 6.5 million tons.