Winter Surcharge for St. Petersburg, Russia – Effective December 1st

Please be advised about the winter surcharge for all the shipments to and from St. Petersburg, Russia effective December 1, 2015 through to March 31, 2016. The surcharge will be $125 per 20′ and $250 per 40′ containers.

The surcharge is to cover the heavy weather and ice conditions, seasonal increases in the local tariffs as well as increased vessels costs.

Please be guided accordingly

Russia Launches Novorossiysk Port Deepening Project

The Russian government plans to spend between 20 and 25 billion rubles ($400 to $500 million) to expand and deepen the harbor of the Novorossiysk seaport to handle larger vessels, reports Moscow News.The project is set to begin 2016 and be completed by 2020.

The Russian government expects the expansion will boost container volumes at Novorossiysk by up to 15 percent annually in order to better compete with the Ukrainian’s largest ports. Novorossiysk is Russia’s second-largest port and currently accommodates vessels up to 6, 000 TEUs. Following expansion, the port will be capable of handling 10,000 TEU vessels.

The Ukrainian seaports Illichivsk and Yozhny deeper harbors and have grabbed some of Novorossiysk’s cargo. The project also calls for increasing the length of the berth at Novoroslesexport, one of the port’s largest terminals, from about 919 feet to 1,655 meters so it can handle Panamax vessels.  Road and rail connections, including the reconstruction of a railway station, will also be expanded.

Container throughput at Novorossiysk, just like other Russian ports, has fallen by nine percent this year due to falling oil prices, economic sanctions and the decline of the ruble against international currencies.

Do you have any questions regarding shipping to Russia or CIS? Please contact RCL Agencies!

Kazakhstan to Join WTO After 20 Years of Talks

After nearly 20 years of negotiations, the World Trade Organization and Kazakhstan have completed accession talks, according to a statement from WTO.

The former Soviet republic has been negotiating with WTO since February 1996 -the longest accession process to date- to become the organization’s 162nd member country. Kazakhstan’s accession package will now go to the WTO’s General Council for formal adoption.

“The high quality of the accession package will accelerate Kazakhstan’s integration into the global trading system and provide a boost to Kazakhstan’s economy for years to come”,  said WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo.

The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and the U.S.- Kazakhstan Business Association (USKZBA) likewise welcomed the completion of accession talks between the WTO and Kazakhstan.
The full membership will enable Kazakhstan to successfully integrate into the global community as a reliable trade partner with a favorable and transparent investment and business climate. The country will obtain new consumption markets for the Kazakh products and improve competitiveness, that will ultimately modernize the national economy.
Full membership in the international trading system will also play significant role in the realization of Strategy 2050 program that could turn Kazakhstan into one of the 30 most competitive nations in the world by 2050.
Stay informed with RCL Agencies updates about the latest trade and shipping news.

Vladivostok to Become “Free Port” in 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that the city of Vladivostok and surrounding districts are to be given the status of a free port in order to foster economic growth and investment.

According to President Putin’s statement, Russia’s first ‘free port’ will be operational beginning in 2016. Currently the bill is being developed and the first details of the project have now emerged.

According to the bill, in addition to Vladivostok the free port will include practically the whole Primorsky Territory – the Artyomovsky municipal area, the Nadezhdinsky, Shkotovsky, Partizansky and Khasansky districts, as well as the Pogranichny area on the border with China. They all can count on government support.

The port will be established for 70 years and will include a port and airport zone, an industrial zone, a scientific zone and a tourist-recreational zone. The focus of the port’s new status will be on developing logistics, ship repairs, manufacturing, export-oriented and import-substituting industries, and agriculture

Companies wishing to receive the status of resident must present a long list of documents and receive approval from the agency that regulates activities in the port territories. Residents must not participate in regional investment projects and must not have branches or representation offices outside the free port.

Vladivostok, at the head of Golden Horn Bay is close to Korea and China, and is currently home to the Russian Pacific Fleet. It was actually a free port in the late 19th century when its status allowed duty-free goods to be imported from abroad. This turned it into one of the largest ports in the world along with the likes of Hamburg and London, but the status was removed in 1909.

Do you have any questions regarding shipping to Russia or CIS? Please contact RCL Agencies!


Russia to Help Egypt Build a Nuclear Power Plant

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi signed a preliminary agreement to jointly build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, after the two leaders met in Cairo on February 9-10.

The plant, that will be built in Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast in northwest Egypt, will help with Egypt’s need for electricity. The site was selected during former president Hosni Mubarak’s term, but made little progress due to protests from local residents as well as general unrest.

As a condition of building the plant, Russia will also provide financing. Russian company Rosatom will build the plants according to “Russian technology”and supply 1,200-megawatt reactors. Construction of the two new reactors at Dabaa is expected to cost about US$8 billion each.

In addition to the nuclear power plant agreement, the two nations agreed to improve natural gas business and investment.  Further, Egypt will allow Russia to develop an industrial zone along its Suez Canal, which is currently undergoing a massive expansion.

Do you have any questions regarding shipping to Russia or Egypt? Please contact RCL Agencies!


Russia Halts Grain Exports

According to Bloomberg News, Russia stopped exporting grain last week, suspending shipments to all customers. Russia’s main wheat buyers are Turkey, Iran and Egypt.

Traders have contracts to deliver worldwide more than 3 million metric tons of Russian grain through January. Grain shipments stopped Dec. 18, said Arkady Zlochevsky, president of the union. As a result, Russia may fail to supply wheat to Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), the state buyer of the world’s largest wheat importer, in January

Last week Russia said that it plans to introduce grain export duties, the latest step in an effort to reduce overseas shipments after the ruble plunged and food prices increased. While the country has said it won’t stop exports, the government has blocked cargoes by denying certificates that grain sellers and buyers need after sanitary inspections, and state-owned Russian Railways Co. halted deliveries to ports for exports last week.

Zlochevsky criticised the decision to impose restrictions for the third time in six years. Russia imposed a duty on wheat exports in 2008 and an official ban in 2010 when a drought hit its crop.

Do you have any questions regarding shipping to Russia or CIS? Please contact RCL Agencies!



Vladivostok to Become Russia’s First ‘Free Port’

The Siberian Times reports  Russia’s Vladivostok is to become  the nation’s first ‘free port’ by July, 2015.

In order to boost trade and support the wider economy, the new status  would allow some tax incentives, less strict customs regulations, and a lower cost for ships berthing at this port. Vladivostok  is strategically placed with borders close to China and North Korea, creating a ‘free port’  will allow stronger ties to be developed with Asian nations, particularly China.

The idea to make Vladivostok a free port again came from to Mindalvostokrazvitiya – the Ministry of Development of the Far East – and following the President’s announcement officials will draw up a plan to facilitate the new customs regime.

In addition, the President said he is keen to push ahead with the development of the Northern Shipping Route, giving more efficient access to Europe across the Arctic.

Do you have any questions regarding shipping to Russia or CIS? Please contact RCL Agencies!


Disabled Russian Container Ship Towed From British Columbia Coast

The BBC reports that a disabled Russian container ship, the Simushir,  is being pulled away from Canada’s shore, ending fears that the vessel carrying hundreds of tons of fuel would drift ashore, hit rocks and spill. The Simushir was towed to port by a U.S.-based ocean-going tug, the Barbara Foss.

The Russia-bound ship left Washington and lost power on Friday morning due to a mechanical failure. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Gordon Reid arrived Friday night and started towing the disabled ship away from shore, but three attempts to keep a towline attached failed and the ship was adrift again for six hours Saturday.

It had originally been feared that the ship might hit Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

A spokesman for Russian shipping firm SASCO, the owners of the vessel, said it is carrying 298 containers of mining equipment in addition to 400 tons of bunker oil and 50 tons of diesel. The vessel is not a tanker but rather a cargo ship.

Right now the vessel is in port in Prince Rupert on British Columbia’s north coast and engine repairs are expected to be completed within two days.

Do you have any questions regarding shipping to Russia or CIS? Please contact RCL Agencies!


Russia looks to increase vehicle import duties

As the Automotive Logistics reports, Russia is preparing to renegotiate some of the commitments it made when it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), including those governing the duties applied to vehicles imported to the country. According to deputy minister of industry, Viktor Evtukhov, Russia aims to preserve or even increase the import duties, which previously it had promised to reduce.

Negotiations are expected to focus on duties applied to products from the automotive, engineering and metals industries, according to the Ministry of Industry, though there is currently no published list of the products on which the revised duties will be applied.

The decision has support from political leaders, and last week the country’s minister of industry and trade, Denis Manturov, is reported to have discussed the issue with president Vladimir Putin.

Immediately after Russia’s accession to the WTO, import duties for new cars were decreased from 30% to 25%. The original agreement called for further decreases until import duties reached 15% in 2018. When Russia joined the WTO in 2012, it also committed to a recycling tax designed to remove older, more polluting vehicles from the road. According to some commentators those recycling fees were specifically designed to replace import duties and protect the domestic market.

The next decrease is scheduled for January 1, 2015.

For certain types of vehicles the reduction in duties was scheduled to be even greater. For cars with engine capacity exceeding 2.8-litres, the duty was planned to drop to 12.5%, while SUVs with 3.5-4.2-litre engines were to incur no more than a 10% duty.

He added that the Russian government has now committed itself to supporting the automobile market through various measures, and that it was clear that the further reduction of duties would be counterproductive.

Earlier this year, a report by the leading German consulting group Roland Berger has warned Russia should think twice before introducing any sanctions against the Western automotive industry. It suggested that declines in the Russian market where liable to lead some OEMs to close smaller factories in Russia, potentially leading to a higher share of imports relative to locally produced vehicles. However, the reported efforts to reverse lower duties demonstrates the extent to which the Russian government is willing to protect local vehicle assembly.

It is not yet clear what impact Russia’s reversal of its commitment to the WTO would have on its membership in the organisation.

Russian light vehicle sales have fallen 12% in the first eight months of this year compared to 2013, including sharp declines since the fallout of the crisis in the Ukraine.

Do you have any questions regarding shipping to Russia or CIS? Please contact RCL Agencies!


Russian Railways’ Europe-Asia deal with Belarus, Kazakhstan Approved

The press center of Russian Railways advised that Russia’s government has  approved a  joint venture between the state railway companies of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan know as the Integrated Transport and Logistics Company (OTLK).

Russian Railways will transfer 50 percent, plus two shares in JSC Transcontainer, Russia’s largest intermodal operator, and 100 percent minus two shares in its Russian Railways Logistics unit, to United Transport and Logistics Company, or UTLC.

OTLK was created as an initiative of the railways of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus to be part of framework  integrating the three countries on the basis of the Common Economic Space and Customs Union.

Currently, OTLK is one of the few real-world business projects of integration processes in the CES, and the only one aimed at consolidating the infrastructure sectors of the Customs Union.

The creation of OTLK was to ensure the development of the transport and logistics infrastructure of the three countries on the basis of uniform principles of pricing policy, the mutual use of rolling stock, the introduction of a single technology and standards of transport and logistics services in the territory of the CES, and the timing of investment in the development of the railway infrastructure of the three countries. This will create a transport platform for other large-scale economic projects.

Also, OTLK is a response to the growing level of competition for the management of global transport corridors, particularly from the EU and China. Control of key transport assets of the CES will allow OTLK to reach a business scale comparable with global industry leaders, ensuring a strong bargaining position in relations with foreign partners and contractors.

Combining transit, domestic and export/import traffic in its members’ national markets will enable UTLC to reduce operational costs, offer lower rates to shippers and cut the number of empty containers resulting from a 3:1 imbalance between westbound and eastbound traffic.

On the Russian side, shares of TransContainer and Russian Railways Logistics will be transferred to OTLK; Belarus will transfer Belintertrans, which consolidates container assets in Belarus. From Kazakhstan, Kedentransservice and Kaztransservice will be transferred to OTLK.

This will make it possible to control key entry points to regions using 1520-mm-gauge rail: Dostyk, Altynkol, and Brest; the network scale and size of the rolling stock; and the required level of basic logistics competencies.

As a result of this project, Russian Railways will provide additional funds of almost $1.7 billion over 7 years for infrastructure alone.

OTLK will also have a positive macroeconomic effect. According to the calculations carried out with the participation of  consultants from Boston Consulting Group, due to the development of transport and additional shipping-related industries (transport engineering, construction, materials, etc.), by 2020, $5 billion will be added to the GDP of Russia and over 17 000 jobs will be created. The project will positively affect the economies of other countries in the Customs Union.

Do you have any questions regarding shipping to Russia or CIS? Please contact RCL Agencies!


source: Port News