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TOTTORI (Kyodo) A South Korean ferry arrived Tuesday at the port of Sakai in Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture, inaugurating a new cargo-passenger route linking the city with Donghae, South Korea, and Vladivostok, Russia.

The 14,000-ton Eastern Dream, which left Donghae on Monday, is scheduled to leave Sakai on Wednesday to first return to Donghae and then head to Vladivostok.

The ship, operated by DBS Cruise Ferry can carry about 450 passengers plus cargo.

The new service was originally planned to start in April but was delayed due to the global economic crisis.

Tottori plans to use the new service to export sake and watermelons, and hopes for an inflow of South Korean and Russian tourists wanting to visit “onsen” hot-spring resorts and sample the local cuisine.

The prefectural government said it hopes the new shipping service will generate ¥10 billion in the local economy through trade and passenger traffic.

It said it expects to make the port of Sakai a gateway to Northeast Asia through the new service.

According to Yonhap News Agency, a 90-member South Korean delegation was aboard the inaugural cruise, among them senior officials and assembly members of the Gangwon provincial and Donghae municipal governments.

Tottori Gov. Shinji Hirai and Sakaiminato Mayor Katsuji Nakamura are scheduled to board the Eastern Dream on Wednesday.

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