Global Ports making the most of the Russian market

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): Ports & Terminals  

Editor’s Note: Global Ports Investments PLC (“GPI”) is a leading container terminals operator in Russia with a market share of over 19% of all container traffic at Russian ports in 2009. GPI operates three container terminals in Russia (Petrolesport, Moby Dik in St. Petersburg and Vostochanaya Stevedoring Company in the Vostochny Port) and two container terminals in Finland (Multi-Link Terminals Oy in Helsinki and Kotka). GPI is now also developing an inland terminal Yanino, near St. Petersburg, Russia.GPI was incorporated in February 2008, and is is 90% owned by N-Trans (which is also the majority shareholder in the rail logistics company Globaltrans Investment PLC). It owns 75% of the VSC terminal with 25% held by DP World; it owns 50% of Vopak E.O.S. with 50% held by Royal Vopak; and it holds 75% interests in Moby Dik, the Finnish operations and Yanino with the balance owned by Container Finance Limited Oy. Global Ports is registered in Cyprus but most of the management team is Russia-based. The following is an interview with Roy Cummins, Chief Commercial Officer of Global Ports.

By George Lauriat, AJOTAJOT: Globally, container traffic fell dramatically in 2009, has it improved during the last three quarters of 2010?
Roy Cummins, Global Ports: “Our container volumes have rebounded significantly in 2010. Our volumes in Vostochny have increased over 50% Y-O-Y and in Petrolesport (PLP), our main facility in St. Petersburg, the volume has increased by 165%! In October PLP handled its record volume ever at 57,000 TEUs and full year volumes will be close to 2008 pre-crisis levels.”
AJOT: Does container traffic in Russia have a ‘peak season’ or is it relatively even over the course of the year?
Roy Cummins, GlobalPorts: “There is a peak season, which is generally between the 3rd and 4th quarters, typically between August – November.”
AJOT: What is the ratio of imports to exports? On the export side do the cargos tend to weigh out rather than cube out?
Roy Cummins, GlobalPorts: “IMPORT/EXPORT ratio is mainly even but only 50% of our exports are FCL. Russia’s main exports are commodities such as timber products, metal products or chemicals. These tend to be heavy and so weight limitations are key factor when containerizing them. The imbalance between import and export container types contributes to the high empty evacuation rate.
AJOT: What is the split for inbound & outbound shipment?
Roy Cummins, GlobalPorts: “We don’t have exact figures but anecdotally from the shipping lines imports are roughly 50/50 split between FOB and CIF.”
AJOT: What are the challenges moving freight off the terminals to the hinterland?
Roy Cummins, GlobalPorts: “The two main challenges are (1) customs processes and inspections can delay the movement to the hinterland considerably (2) inadequate rail infrastructure and efficient inland logistics depots mean that penetration of rail from the NW basin is low. The vast majority of import cargo is still moved by small road hauliers for even long distances. In the Far East 90% of our throughput is handled on the Trans-Siberian railway (TSR). Here customs clearance/inspection issues predominate the scene.”
AJOT: I’m assuming rough winters – does the handling equipment have to specially “winterized”?
Roy Cummins, GlobalPorts: “Our equipment is broadly speaking standard but has winter specifications in terms of protective coatings, electrical fittings etc. Our terminals operate throughout the winter.”

AJOT: Is Global Ports, even with the slump, interested in expanding ooperations to other transportation sectors or ports in Russia and abroad?
Roy Cummins, GlobalPorts: “Absolutely, we have an active business development team who are constantly analyzing the market for the correct opportunities.”

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American Journal of Transportation