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4 Декабря 2013

RLL Container Report – 04 December 2013.

From: John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd Email: john.keir@teia.com
Date: 04 December 2013

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.

“My heart's in the Highlands” by Robert Burns

Like Scotland’s national poet, Fesco has lost its heart to the high lands formed by the  Ural mountains. However, Fesco’s block train service has its eye fixed more on the region’s traditional metal exports rather than the local wildlife. The UralShuttle has proved so successfully that early in the New Year Fesco will offer weekly departures from Chelyabinsk. And it is easy to see what it is that attracts the Far East Shipping Company to this watershed between East and West. Simply put, in the industrial metropolis in the Southern Urals Fesco has discovered the container equivalent of the Holy Grail– return cargo. On the inbound leg, Fesco carries consumer goods from Asia to the Urals, while on the backhaul leg containers are loaded with metal and plastic products destined for the Russian Far East. Since it was inaugurated last year, the service has carried 5,700 teu and in November Chelyabinsk welcomed the 100th Fesco block train from Vladivostok.

Fesco’s move was quickly followed by Fenex, which on 26 November started its own weekly block train from the ZIL terminal in Moscow to Krasnoyarsk. The train has a  capacity of 90 teu and will cover the 4,000-odd kilometres to Krasnoyarsk in four and a half days. At the same time, MANP launched a new block train service from Ust-Luga to Moscow. The Ust-Luga Express is a weekly service carrying 120 teu, which links the North-West port with the Moscow Region. The operators, MANP and Avelana Logistics are targeting smaller clients with smaller shipments – even as low as a single box. The MANP terminal is located 45 km from Moscow city centre. It will be interesting to monitor developments on these routes to see if Fenex and MANP can emulate Fesco’s achievements in balancing inbound with outbound shipments. 

Meanwhile, there are major changes planned in the south of the country as OTEKO announces developments at the port of Taman. The United Transport and
Forwarding Company, OTEKO, will construct two new terminals in the port of Taman, situated between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. The first terminal, to be opened in the second half of 2015, will handle bulk cargoes, including 20 million tons of coal and 10 million tons of iron ore and other bulk commodities. The second port facility will have a capacity of 20 million tons and will come on stream two years later. This will be dedicated to grain, sugar and soya bean shipments. OTEKO reckon the
dedicated foodgrade facility will handle 12.5 million tons of export and 2 million tons of import cargoes. We must keep am eye on developments in Taman to see if any enterprising intermodal operator offers to distribute the import cargoes using dedicated, foodgrade, bulk containers. One hundred and twenty kilometres down
the coast from Taman, the co-owners of the Port of Novorossiysk are in discussion over the future structure of this major port facility. Transneft and Summa may simply split responsibilities with the former taking over liquid cargoes, while Summa handles all containers and dry cargoes in Novorossiysk.

In October, that barometer of economic activity in Russia – the Port of HaminaKotka – registered a container throughput of 52,057 teu. This puts the Finnish port on target to match or slightly exceed last year’s total of 631,040 teu. Finland has a total of 50 ports, of which 23 operate all-year round. At present, only one third of the ports in Finland are privately owned with the rest being controlled by local municipalities. However new legislation will require a change of structure, which
may result in some Finnish ports being taken over by privately-run ports in neighbouring countries.

Russia has broached with Japan the subject of a rail connection to Sakhalin Island. The cost of a fixed link, either a tunnel or a bridge, from the Russian mainland to Sakhalin could not be justified solely on the grounds of current and projected cargo flows to and from the island. Initial cost calculations based on either a tunnel or a bridge across the Nevelsky Strait come out at USD 14 Billion. However, if the rail link were to be extended south to the Japanese island of Hokkaido, then there is a far greater chance of attracting the level of commercial traffic to justify the heavy investment required. Of course, the Japanese have already built an even longer tunnel connecting Hokkaido to Honshu. It is projected that by 2030, the rail line could be carrying up to 27 million tons of cargo and 450,000 teu per annum. Russian negotiators should try to conclude an agreement with Tokyo as quickly as possible, for the Koreans are proposing a far more ambitious plan to link the Land of the Rising Sun to Asia via an even longer and far more costly tunnel. 

John Keir
Ross Learmont Ltd
04 December 2013
Email: john.keir@telia.com

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