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How the Black Sea Container Market is Changing in 2022?

Informall BG research shows, that total Black Sea region [Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia] container turnover [laden and empty] reached 3,1 million TEU in 2021, including Ukrainian annual volume of a slightly over 1.0 million TEU.

The Ukrainian economy relies a lot on containerized cargo arriving from various destinations in the ports of Odesa region. Pre-war data shows that over 50% of import containerized cargo originated in the Asian region.

Alexander Khromov project manager of Informall BG suggests: “the seaports of Ukraine have been in blockade for almost 5 months and if ports are closed longer Ukraine will face an 85% container volume drop at the end of 2022”.

According to Informall BG estimations the liner service suspension to Russian ports on the Black Sea by many carriers will cause a reduction of the Russian regional container turnover by around 30%.

This rather modest estimation is based on the fact that considerable share of regional Russian trades is still operating with those countries which [currently] do not support international sanctions against Russia.

In the given circumstances the total Black Sea region container turnover is due to decrease by around 35% resulting in slightly over 2.0 million TEU of regional volume by the end of the 2022.

2M Alliance [Maersk and MSC] to be hit the most as they provide for almost a half of the regional container volume [as per Informall BG 2021 data].

At the same time, seaports of Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia are set to gain in container turnover volume during 2022. As per Informall BG analysis, container terminals of Romania in Constanta are expected to achieve 10% throughput increase in 2022 mainly on account of Ukrainian export/import transit containers and cargoes moving via ‘Trans-Caspian’ corridor.

Moreover, DP World in Constanta [a container terminal operator in the port] signed an agreement on June 2022 to invest into a new ro-ro terminal and a new logistics facility in order to boost terminal capacity to handle project and general cargoes on the Black Sea.

Along with that, Georgia [port of Poti] is exploring plans to become a new regional container hub for Asian exporters moving their cargoes via ‘Trans-Caspian’ corridor [or ‘Middle-Corridor’] to the countries of EU, Turkey (Turkiye) and Ukraine.

At least 3 multimodal operators have launched a railway service via the ‘Trans-Caspian’ route since the beginning of Russian-Ukrainian war.

Vassiliy Vesselovski CEO of Informall BG says: “As sanctions maintain pressure on the Russian logistics sector, we are witnessing tectonic shifts of seaborn and intermodal routes connecting South East Asia and Europe.

Railway cargo traffic ‘to and from’ Europe is moving away from transit option via Russia. Some of Chinese exporters have already stopped utilizing the Russian ‘Trans-Siberian’ railway route which was traditionally used to deliver Chinese products to the EU for many years.

The EU sanctions against a major Russian state-owned railway company have also undermined its abilities to provide reliable and seamless service for Chinese shippers turning them away to alternative routes such as ‘Trans-Caspian’.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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