Container throughput of Russian seaports has almost recovered up to the pre-crisis level of 2014. In January-September 2018 the Russian ports handled 3.8 mln TEU (+11.5% y-o-y to 2017). In 2014, this figure was 3.99 mln TEU, before the container volumes dropped dramatically by 25.4% in 2015, as a result of the economic sanctions declared by the Russian government, the grossly devaluated ruble and the economic crisis that followed.
According to the data of the Russian Sea Commercial Ports Association, both imports and exports demonstrate strong growth: imports +10.4% (1.6 mln TEU) and exports +11.2% (1.57 mln TEU). However, this growth is slower than last year, the trend we already highlighted in our 6 months 2018 review. In 9 months 2017, imports had grown by 17.9%, exports – by 16.2%.
But we must note an amazingly high rise in loaded exports in January-September 2018: +16.6%, up to 996.6 th. TEU. This is accounted for by a stable growth in containerized export of such cargos as paper, metal and wood industry products, chemicals, mineral fertilizers.
The remaining part of the total container handling consists of local cabotage volumes, which showed also a strong growth of 15.5% (578 th. TEU), and transit, which is scarce (56.5 th. TEU) but still grew by 10.5%.
The slowdown of growth pace is noticeable in all Russian port regions. The Baltic ports increased their traffic by +11.2%, up to 1.86 mln TEU, whereas in January-June 2018 the rise was 12.2-12.5%. The increase is attributed to growing full exports (647.9 th. TEU, +19.6%) and imports (935.6 th. TEU, +9.9%).
The Big Port of St. Petersburg, the largest Russian container gateway, handled 1.6 mln TEU (12.2%). Among the stevedoring companies here, Container Terminal St. Petersburg has confirmed its #1 status, it alone handled one third of the port’s volume: 550,320 TEU (+15.5%).
Other Baltic ports were not so active: Kaliningrad handled 119.4 th. TEU (+7.1%); Ust-Luga kept its volumes at the 2017 level – 56.8 th. TEU, its 440 th. TEU capacity being severely underutilized.
The Far Eastern ports demonstrated the highest increase of all Russian ports: +15.2%, up to 1.25 mln TEU. Still, in the same period of 2017 this figure was much higher, +26.7%.
Vladivostok, now the largest container port in the Russian Far East and #3 nationwide, handled 680,760 TEU (+10.8%). Its competitor – Vostochny Port – increased the throughput by 15.8%, up to 312,860 TEU.
At the Black Sea, the container traffic rose to 576,050 TEU, +7%.
The Arctic facilities, which mostly handle cabotage containers, registered a growth of just 1.5%, their throughput is 110.7 th. TEU.
The Caspian ports (Astrakhan) handled 1,582 TEU, which is 6.2% less than in the same period last year.