The volume of containers handled by Russian ports has finally stabilized after the crisis of year 2015, when it collapsed by 26%. According to the data published by the Association of Russian sea ports, in January-August of 2016 the total container throughput has reached 2.6 mln TEU, which is just 0.7% below the last year’s figure. However, the 8 months volume in 2014 was 3.5 mln TEU.
The major reason for the decrease was import cargo, which dropped by 30% last year due to the economic sanctions declared by the Russian government, the devaluated ruble and consequently the weakened consumer demand. In 2016 import volumes have stabilized, i.e. during 8 months 1.1 mln TEU were handled (+0.9% to the volume of similar period in 2015).
At the same time the export volumes are increasing, mainly due to a stable growth in exported containerized cargo, such as metal and wood industry products, chemicals, mineral fertilizers. Thus, year 2014 showed a 20% jump in loaded export volumes, in 2015 the growth was just about 1% and 8 months this year demonstrated a growth by 12.2%, up to 701.5 th. TEU.
Both growing export and low import account for the drastic decrease of empty export volumes handled by Russian ports: 379.9 th. TEU in January-August, 2016 (-21.8% to 2015 and -58.5% to 2014). Just to compare with about one million boxes evacuated from the Russian ports during 8 months in 2013.
Transit cargo figures are traditionally not so high and still going down: only 28.1 th. TEU in January-August, 2016 (-45.9% to 2015 and -60% to 2014). Whereas, cabotage shows a stable growth: 400.6 th. TEU (+6.6% to 2015 and +7.2% to 2014).
Looking at the particular ports, it can be said that the Baltic ports, where the major container handling facilities of the country are located, are gradually recovering after a drastic 30% drop of last year. Their volume in 8 months this year reached 1.34 mln TEU, which is 1.5% higher than last year. Thus, the total throughput of all the container stevedores in the port of St.Petersburg reached 1.16 mln TEU (+0.7% to last year). However the new port of Ust-Luga is still struggling: only 53.7 th. TEU (-5.7% to 2015), after a 19% drop last year.
The container volumes of the Black Sea ports have never been quite high. Last year they dropped by 19% and this year have shown a 3.5% growth, up to 428.8 th. TEU, with its flagman port of Novorossiysk handling 418.9 th. TEU (+4.7%).
The worst situation is observed at the ports of Russian Far East. After a collapse of 24% last year, their throughput is still decreasing: 751.9 th. TEU (-7.5% to 2015). Vladivostok shows better results (396.2 th. TEU, -3.6% to 2015) than its main rival, the once largest and best equipped port of Vostochny (193.6 th. TEU, -21.6% to 2015).
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