13 Apr 2022 13:30

Delo CEO sees container traffic in Russian Northwest plunging 95% in May after falling a third in March

MOSCOW. April 13 (Interfax) - Container traffic at seaports in Russia's Northwestern basin could tumble by 95% in May if new shipping companies do not enter the market, Delo Group CEO Dmitry Pankov said.

"Right now we're seeing that, out of the approximately 20 of the main international container lines that had a presence in the Russian Federation, 14 have left. And these 14 lines that left controlled about 70-80% of cargo turnover. Of course, the Northwest has suffered and will suffer most. Taking the circle of clients that we have now and taking away the lines that have left the Northwest and Russia, that's a loss in volume of about 90-95%. This is the whole basin in general," Pankov told reporters.

Container traffic in March fell by about 35% in the Northwest and 50% in the Azov and Black Sea basin, he said.

Out of the main shipping companies in the Northwest, only China's COSCO and Unifeeder remain. "But as far as I know Unifeeder has also decided to leave ports in the Northwest," Pankov said.

Vessels are continuing to enter ports in the Northwest in April, but shipping lines are primarily taking out their containers and bringing in cargo that has accumulated at ports in Europe.

"We're also seeing vessel calls by Maersk, and by other lines that have announced they are leaving. But these are vessel calls that are intended to pick up containers that have accumulated at Russian ports and bring from Amsterdam, Antwerp and Bremerhaven the crates that have accumulated there. All the lines are saying that they are completing the process of evacuating containers by the end of April. Accordingly, a different reality without the lines already begins as of May," Pankov said.

"If there is no replacement [in the Northwest], this is the picture that we see starting in May. Of course, one can't say that this is forever. But again, a certain amount of time is needed for a realignment of cargo traffic to take place," Pankov said.