15.07.2008 - Come on in...

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin has proposed opening up the country’s waterways to foreign shipping.

"We can't always protect this market from competition at the expense of the consumers," he said at an official meeting on water resources in the Rostov region.

"If our companies can't meet demand we'll have to seriously consider opening internal waterways for foreign-flag ships."

Putin also proposed subsidising loans that finance acquisitions of Russian ships and lease payments for such ships in order to encourage the shipbuilding industry. He added that he believed the government should purchase domestic vessels and finance research and development in ship construction.

Gary Dixon, Tradewinds

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