• 2022 December 8

    Oboronlogistics confirms its status of an agent

    FSUE Rosmorport has summed up the results of the competition for providing agency services on attraction and transportation of passengers and cargoes by ferries between the ports of Ust-Luga and Kaliningrad until 2024. The winner, Oboronlogistics LLC, which is under sanctions, is already running railway ferries of the ferry complex. Lawyers believe the risk of secondary sanctions is not likely to affect those involved in cargo transportation.

    Rosmorport has published the document with the results of the competition to select a cargo agent for Marshall Rokossovsky and General Chernyakhovsky ferries operating on the line between the ports of Ust-Luga and Kaliningrad on the state procurement website. According to the document, the competition worth RUB 29.5 million attracted two bidders, Trans-Business-Consulting LLC (TBK, agent of the Ro-Ro / Lo-Lo Ursa Major vessel on this sea line) and Oboronlogistics LLC. Having evaluated the bids, the commission decided to sign a contract with Oboronlogistics.

    The tasks of a cargo agent: 

    A cargo agent is to find customers interested in transportation of goods, to negotiate with them and to conclude contracts, to ensure loading and unloading of goods by stevedoring companies and providing of other services, says Oboronlogistics. The term of the cargo agent agreement, according to the tender documentation, is until 31 December 2024. Oboronlogistics offered its services with an agent's fee of 0.1% (excluding railway cars) and 0.45% for railway cars. TBC asked for 1.5% for similar services as well as 3.3% as a commission. 

    Kaliningrad Department of FSUE Rosmorport’s North-Western Branch provides services on transportation of railway cars, RO-RO cargo and passengers on a ferry line “Ust-Luga seaport – Kaliningrad seaport” involving two fferiies, Marshall Rokossovsky and General Chernyakhovsky, and two multifunctional ships, Sparta and Sparta II. The line was registered by the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency (Rosmorrechflot) on 25 July 2022.

    Rosmorport says Oboronlogistics used to act as the general agent of the Marshall Rokossovsky and General Chernyakhovsky ferries earlier. The sanctions imposed on Oboronlogistics do not apply to transportation between the ports of the Russian Federation and within the legal framework of the Russian Federation, added Rosmorport. As a successful bidder in the competition for selecting a cargo agent Oboronlogistics will contribute to pursuance of the line’s single window principle: cargo units, railway cars and ro-ro units are placed on the first coming ferry regardless of what company owns it, emphasized Rosmorport.  Oboronlogistics says the sanctions to not hinder the company’s implementation of the contracts. It was not the first competition of Rosmorport for outsourcing of cargo agents’ services: Oboronlogistics also operates the Baltiysk and Ambal ferries which resumed operation on the sea line in 2019. Ro-Ro/Lo-Lo Ursa Major operating on the line is owned by Oboronlogistics and chartered by FSUE Rosmorport. Cargo operator of the Ro-Ro ferry complex in Ust-Luga is Novotrans group. On 29 November 2022, two multifunctional vessels of Oboronlogistics, Sparta and Sparta II, started operating on the line linking the terminal of Petrolesport JSC in Great Port of Saint-Petersburg and the seaport of Kaliningrad (operated by FSUE Rosmorport). 

    Sea link between Kaliningrad and Saint-Petersburg intensified in summer 2022 after Lithuania notified Kaliningrad authorities about the ban on certain goods transit passing by railway through Lithuania to the Kaliningrad region effective from June 18. Although later EU allowed Russia to transit some sanctioned goods by rail transport to its exclave via Europe, the development of the sea line linking the regions continues. According to Kaliningrad Region Governor Anton Alikhanov the number of ships delivering cargo to the Kaliningrad Region has surged from 2 in the beginning of the year to 18 by November. The Kaliningrad Region Governor earlier estimated the demand of seaborne transit links with the exclave at 22 ships of the Marshall Rokossovsky type.

    The General Chernyakhovsky ferry has been operating on the line from 6 October 2022. It was built by Nevsky Shipyard LLC (a company of United Shipbuilding Corporation, USC) in cooperation with Turkey’s Kuzey Star Shipyard under the order of FSUE Rosmorport in the framework of the state programme “Social and Economic Development of the Kaliningrad Region”. It is the second in the series of the latest eco-ferries intended for stable transportation between Russia’s westernmost region and the country’s mainland. The first ferry, Marshall Rokossovsky, was put into operation in March 2022.

    In the 11-month period of 2022, cargo turnover of Ust-Luga-Baltiysk line totaled 1.8 million tonnes with the turnover of railway cars at Rosmorport’s Ro-Ro ferry complex in Baltiysk expected to double, year-on-year, by the end of 2022. 

    Yury Fedyukin, Managing Partner at Enterprise Legal Solutions, says that cargo transportation by ferries is on the rise amid the transit restrictions but the number of ships is not sufficient. The expert believes that the contract with Oboronlogistics could contribute to optimization of the processes for a more efficient operation of the facilities. “The sanctions imposed on Oboronlogistics are not likely to affect the functionality of cargo traffic because so far, with the current sanctions, this link with the region is the most efficient anyway. The more so as voyages are not performed directly by a cargo agent. Therefore, the sanctions cannot have a negative impact on it,” he says. 

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Yana Wojciechowska