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ITE Transport and Logistics

Russia maritime freight update: smooth seas from here on out?

With over 37,000 km of coastline, and maritime borders that include the Pacific Ocean, and the Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas, Russia enjoys a hefty sea transportation presence. In fact, as much as 60% of all of Russia’s international trade is carried by cargo ships.

Recovery returns to Russian sea freight sector

While Russia took an economic nosedive in 2014, sea freight has remained rather resilient, even though cargo volumes obviously dropped off with Russia’s decreased levels of international trade.
Since 2006, says the Russian Maritime Ports Association, the sector’s total turnover had increased 77.4% by 2016.

Collective cargo turnover increased 6.7% across all Russian ports in 2016, reaching a whopping 721.9 million tons. On the container front, Russia is recovering too. 3.99 million TEUs passed through Russian container terminals during 2016, representing a 1.4% increase against 2015’s traffic levels.

This growth looks like it is continuing through 2017. During Q1, Russia’s seaports handled 183.3 million tons of cargo, showing a 9.5% year-on-year rise against January-March 2016. Likewise, container traffic is expanding too, posting an increase of 11.8% to 1.07 million TEUs in Jan-March 2017, compared with the same period in 2016.

Arcitc, Far East regions to become new Russian sea freight hubs?

Arctic regions posted the biggest cargo volumes, as freight levels rose a staggering 40.6%, to just shy of 50 million tons. 

Out in the Far East, home to the ports of Vladivostok, Finding, Vanino, and more, freight levels rose too. While not as drastic as the performance seen in the Russian Arctic, volumes rose 8.3%, achieving roughly 175 million tons of dry bulk and liquid cargoes.

Alexei Bezborodov, head of research agency InfraNews, suggest the future of Russia’s sea trade no longer lies in imports. Instead, export expansion, driven by a lower rouble rate and higher agricultural output, will be the industry’s key driver.
Having said that, increased trade levels in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and African states will likely result in an influx of international goods passing through Russian maritime centres.

Russia plans big investment in new port facilities

To accommodate heightened sea freight levels, the need to expand facilities now rests heavy on the minds of Russia’s port authorities. Several big infrastructure projects are planned.

At Vladivostok, a 6.7 hectare logistics hub is under construction. Elsewhere, on the Black Sea, the port of Taman is getting a complete, $258 upgrade, including new bulk cargo and grain terminals.

Arkhangelsk in Northwest Russia is to see construction of a new deep-water port, with first cargoes passing through there by 2025. Planned for year-round operation, involving the deployment of icebreakers in the winter, Archangelsk’s newest port facility will be able to handle 30 million tons of freight annually and act as alternative route for cargo flows to and from Europe, North America and China.

International port operators are also entering the market. Dubai’s DP World, for instance, is in talks to acquire a minority stake in Fesco, Russia’s largest port operator.

As the maritime industries are integral to Russian prosperity, more investment in port facilities, fleets, and sector-specific cargo-handling technologies is coming as the decade closes.

Interact with Russia’s maritime freight industry at TransRussia

If you are looking to offer maritime-related transport and logistics services and technologies, or want to transport your goods via sea to Russia, then TransRussia is the place to be.

TransRussia is Russia’s largest transport & logistics event. Every year, the great and the good of Russia’s sea freight sector, including port authorities, carriers, and more, gather at the show to meet new and old clients and expand their business leads.

For more information on TransRussia, including how it can benefit your business, contact our team today.

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