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Maersk Line launches new Transatlantic service at Petrolesport container terminal (St Petersburg, Russia).

On 22 March, the Petrolesport container terminal (a Global Ports Investments Plc company) held the opening ceremony inaugurating the new ECUBEX freight route between South America and Russia.

ECUBEX is the first Transatlantic sea route linking Ecuador and Russia directly and making it possible to get high quality Ecuadorian products to the Russian market within a short time. The route will be operated by Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company focusing on sea routes. The service will operate with six new ice class ships built in 2009 – 2010, accommodating over 2,500 TEUs and up to 600 refrigerated containers each.

The opening ceremony was attended by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, his Danish counterpart Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, Russian Minister for Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina, Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin, Ecuadorian Industry and Competitiveness Minister Xavier Abad, St Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko and other officials.

Maersk Line’s delegation was headed by Nils Smedegaard Andersen, Partner and Group CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk, and Eivind Kolding, CEO of Maersk Line and of the Container Business.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stressed that the event was not just the opening of a new intercontinental line, but also the opening of new opportunities for business, trade expansion and investment in the broadest sense of the word. “This is an important project for Russia, as you well know that we have recently been investing money in transport infrastructure development in a purposeful way,” said Putin.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said that the opening of the line was a symbol of globalisation. “The vessel was built in South Korea for a Danish ship operator, and there is Russian equipment on board. This is also an example of Russia’s growing role in global trade. I am glad and proud that a Danish company is opening a new door together with its Russian partners. This is an example of our bilateral relations, of our trade with you,” said Rasmussen.

According to Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin, new terminal container capacity in the St Petersburg port has made it possible to establish new logistics and deliver perishable goods from South America. In his speech, the minister emphasised that the Russian Ministry of Transport attached great importance to developing the St Petersburg port and took its interests into account when developing road and rail infrastructure. Speaking about the new service, Levitin said that ECUBEX will also enable Russia to supply equipment to Chile’s coal mining regions, fertilisers to Ecuador and Columbia, and foodstuffs to Central America and Caribbean countries.

The spacious ice class liners and refrigerated containers that can preserve perishable foods up to 45 days will enable trading companies to sell the freshest fruit in Russia, said Maersk Line CEO Eivind Kolding. “Up to now, 80% of all fruit imported into Russia went through St Petersburg. The new line will enable Russia to increase imports and receive 30 million bananas from Ecuador each week. Furthermore, the exports of other Ecuadorian products, such as flowers, pineapples, fruit concentrates, coffee, cocoa, and seafood, may also rise considerably,” he added.

The Petrolesport container terminal, located in St Petersburg’s Bolshoi Port, is the destination point for the ECUBEX Transatlantic service. This became possible thanks to the development of Petrolesport’s capacities and service capabilities, which was part of a large-scale strategic development programme. According to Nikita Mishin, Chairman of Petrolesport’s Board of Directors, the port includes a specialised ro-ro handling facility, a refrigerator terminal designed to accommodate 20,000 tonnes of cargo simultaneously, and a terminal for container transshipment with an annual capacity of 1 million TEUs.

Today Petrolesport is the only transshipment complex capable of handling all aspects of high volume refrigerated container cargoes rapidly and professionally. For instance, the port loads bananas from containers into refrigerated trucks directly in the port. A specialised facility has been built for these purposes in order to cut handling time. The facility’s daily throughput is 120 containers, or 2,600 tonnes, and with the facility it is possible to supply fruit to distribution networks directly and with no impact on product quality, considerably reduce the delivery time, and minimise transport costs.

On materials of Petrolesport and news agencies.

  • 23.03.2010