May 3 2004

Armenia about to minimize losses from cargo ferries delay

YEREVAN, May 3 (Itar-Tass) - The Armenian authorities are taking steps
to minimize losses inflicted by suspension of cargo ferries via the
port of Batumi, Armenian Transport and Communications Minister Andranik
Manukyan said on Monday.

After the Adzharian authorities ordered to demolish railway bridges, 63
ferry carriages with food and other products are stuck in Batumi, the
minister said. Yerevan is conducting talks with Georgia on transporting
the ferry to the port of Poti.

`If the situation does not change, Armenia will receive its cargoes via
Poti, which will be less costly than via Batumi,' Manukyan said.

During current Armenia's transport blockade, the Black Sea ports of
Batumi and Poti and Georgia's railway are the only way for Armenia to
receive cargoes, mainly food and fuel.