Trade sanctions, the weakness of the local currency and oil revenue reductions continue to undermine cargo traffic into Russia, forcing ship and logistics operators to adjust their capacities down, trends reveal.
Danish ro/ro operator DFDS said yesterday that it is downgrading its service on the route between Kiel, Germany, and Ust Luga/St Petersburg, Russia, from a dedicated one-ship loop to a space charter agreement with effect from 11 October.
Its cargoes will then be carried on chartered slots with Grimaldi affiliate Finnlines and the DFDS vessel today deployed on the route will be shifted “elsewhere in DFDS’ route network”, the Danish group said.
Trade losses with Russia were also highlighted at this week’s Shortsea-Euro conference in Bremen, Germany, where Helge Neumann-Lezius, Trade Manager Intra-Europe with global freight forwarder Kuehne + Nagel, reported that the group’s shortsea liftings into Russia year to date are down 75% on volumes seen last year.
“We have not lost any clients, it’s just the volume, it’s less cargo that gets imported,” he explained. The concerns were echoed by Belgian freight forwarder Transport & Project Logistics (TPL) of Antwerp, whose managing director Robert Vermetten warned, “The exchange rate [of the ruble] is changing every day and that’s undermining business. It’s become extremely difficult to make purchase decisions.”