Russian forwarders have launched their own liner services linking their domestic ports to China and India as most global liners, with the notable exception of China’s Cosco, have drastically reduced their operations in the country since the invasion of Ukraine.
Two companies, Swift Line and Inteco Lines, have set up shipping lines for container services between the Russian Far East and China.
The services operated by Swift Line, a marine line of Swift Transport Group, offer direct connections from the Port of Vostochny to the Chinese ports of Tianjin and Taicang two to three times a month, utilising the 2007-built multipurpose vessel Sol Hongkong, capable of carrying more than 650 teu, including 30 reefer containers.
Meanwhile, Inteco Lines, part of the Inteco freight forwarder group, links Vostochny to Qingdao via the 489 teu Shun Yue 19, while the 264 teu Shun Yue 13 and Shun Yue 18 call at Ningbo. The company said it would increase vessel capacity on these services as well as expand its reach by launching a regular service to Shenzhen.
Moreover, a third Russian forwarder, Modul, has launched a container service linking the Big Port of St Petersburg and the largest port in India, Nhava Sheva. The service between Petrolesport, part of Global Ports Group, and the port of Nhava Sheva is operated by an unnamed 1,094 teu vessel, with a delivery time of 25 days.
“The shortage of container tonnage in the Baltics that we have seen in recent months has led to a disruption in international deliveries throughout the North-West of Russia. We expect that the new service from Petrolesport to India will be in demand, both in import and export,” said Albert Likholet, CEO of Global Ports.
The fleet capacity deployed on regular intra-European liner services calling at St Petersburg has fallen from 96,400 teu in early February to 15,700 teu as of June 1, according to Alphaliner. About half of the 43 ships that have left service to and from St Petersburg now trade on North European services, calling ports in Finland, Poland, the Baltic States, and Scandinavian countries. MSC and CMA CGM are the only carriers still advertising sailings to and from the Russian port, while Unifeeder and COSCO Shipping have sent ships to St Petersburg on off-schedule journeys in recent weeks.