UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Thursday, June 20th, 302 AP.

Luka ports losing out to the growing Utan Krysaror

Belson Rail today announced the movement of some of its Luka-based major
storage assets to Utan Krysaror today, and while it only represents some 130
jobs, it is also a sign that Luka is losing the shipping battle with Utan
Krysaror.

Belson Rail today announced the movement of some of its grain store facilities
to Utan Krysaror, the southernmost Utanian city, or, more precisely, the
closing down of old assets in Luka, and rebuilding in the country's capital.
It is a major coup for Utan Krysaror, in a battle it is increasingly winning
over the shipping capital of the country, Luka.

For Luka, the bell tolled on that fateful day in April, 299, when the Tsarist
regime collapsed. Luka's fortunes had been built atop geographical advantage.
Luka sits only about 300km from Guwimith island, the former centre of the
Tsarist Empire, the closest point the Dependencies had with the Imperial
island. This made Luka the centre for the two-way (mostly one-way) trade worth
billions of crowns annually.

As a consequence, all of Belson's rail network points to Luka, all commerce and
financial centres are in Luka, and much of the country's manufacturing is
linked to Luka. This is how the city is the wealthiest in Utania. Utan
Krysaror, however, was little more than the last stop-off point before ships
made the long journey over the Cisgronkian ocean to Westria and New Armatirion,
or other new world ports.

However, the shape of the world has changed. Now, the centre of the world for
Utania is not Guwimith, and the "on the way" port of Utan Krysaror is now one
of the fastest growing ports in the world, and the government is committed to
making it the most efficient and biggest in the world.

Shipping through the port has grown 76% since Utanian indepedence, with
shipping companies citing "a more open atmosphere". Port police now arrest any
dock workers pilfering containers, whereas, once, the Tsarist authorities
couldn't have cared less. It is the port at which ships stop for refueling
en route to the new world, and increasingly the port of choice for Utanian
exports, because costs are low due to the cheaper labour in the south of the
country.

Belson Corporation agree.

"We see the future of exports from Utania being better facilitated through a
major international port such as Utan Krysaror than through Luka", said Samuel
Ferris, spokesman for Belson Rail, while announcing the shift of the grain
terminus from Luka to Utan Krysaror. He explained that most of the grain is
grown in the south of the country, and therefore, to minimise transport costs,
the grain should be sent to the nearest port: Utan Krysaror.

Yet, the battle is not yet over, and even with the government behind the Utan
Krysaror Ports Authority, Luka still handles almost three times as much cargo
as the capital. Yet, some major seismic shifts are coming: FUME, the
Utania-Feniz shipping company, is looking to strengthen its facilities in Utan
Krysaror, and the country's car maker, Savant Motors, last year shifted 35% of
its exports through the capital, for the first time more than Luka's 26% (the
remaining 39% pass through Shecker's own port).

Finally, there is talk of a free-trade zone to be built in the country's
capital that would allow companies to manufacture in a tax-free zone, boosting
employment and shipping substantially.

Utania exported some C40 billion last year, and imported C18 million, with 6%
of the world's shipping trade passing through its ports.


©UPA, 302 AP.

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©Mike Ham, 2002. All rights reserved.