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Russia’s JSC Petrolesport located in the Great Port of St. Petersburg and part of the Global Ports group, will begin servicing a new direct container route from China and Malaysia from May. The operator of the service is the Dubai based, international sea carrier Mountain Air Shipping (MAS).
JSC stated that “As part of a joint service with Safetrans and OVP Shipping, MAS will provide regular delivery of imports to Russia and export shipments of Russian manufacturers’ products via the Baltic basin” This means that St.Petersburg is both the entry point for Chinese and Malaysian products destined for the Russian market, and the exit point for Russian exports to these same markets.
The first ship as part of this new direct service left China on April 6. The voyage takes about 37 days. The route will be served by six vessels, with ships called at Petrolesport twice a month.
Earlier in 2023, JSC First Container Terminals also launched a regular container service of direct communication with China, the operator of which is the Chinese transport and logistics company Torgmoll.
Global Ports is the largest operator of container terminals in Russia. The company operates container and multipurpose terminals in Russia (Petrolesport, First Container Terminal, Ust-Luga Container Terminal and Moby Dick in the Baltic Sea, Eastern Stevedoring Company in the Far East) and two container terminals in Finland – in Helsinki and Kotka (under the management of Multi-Link Terminals Oy, a joint venture of Global Ports and CMA Terminals). It also owns the inland terminal Yanino Logistics Park near St. Petersburg.
The introduction of new direct routes from China and Malaysia are indicative of how supply chains between Russia and Asia are developing. Russia-China bilateral trade reached US$200 billion in 2022 and is set to see further increases, while Russia-Malaysia trade has reached about US$2.5 billion last year.
Malaysia is set to increase agricultural product exports to Russia, including tropical fruits and seafood, with Russia to increase exports of halal products and soya to Malaysia. Both countries signed off a trade MoU in January looking to develop trade relationships in modern farming, seedling technology, fishing, and aquaculture.
Malaysia is part of the ASEAN free trade bloc which also includes Vietnam, which has a successful Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia. Malaysia is also a member of the CPTPP trade bloc which also includes Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Successful trade increases between Russia and Malaysia could lead to a future Malaysia-EAEU FTA. ASEAN is a priority market for Russian exporters as the country turns its trade attention towards Asia.
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