Bulk liquid cargoes are pumped into flexi-tanks by GCS at an off-dock terminal, having arrived in Novorossiysk in rail tank cars. Flexi-tanks provide an excellent way of utilizing standard ISO containers that might otherwise be shipped out of Novorossiysk as empties
Novorossiysk's Global Container Service Group (GCS) has announced its intention to expand further into the transportation of bulk cargoes using ISO containers. GCS is already involved in the loading, unloading and transportation of agribulks in standard containers and liquids in flexi-tanks. This business is conducted through partnerships with international manufacturers/ producers and logistics providers with GCS taking care of the landside transport in Russia.
Since 2007, GCS has been investing into the construction of specialised silo facilities for the containerisation of export grains. The annual traffic produced by this facility, which is still a rare concept in Russia, was almost 4800 TEU in 2011 with commodities being shipped to destinations in SE Asia, the ISC and East Med. GCS is sure that there is great potential for the containerisation of grains in Russia given that the country is one of the world largest grain exporters.
Besides food-stuffs in bulk, GCS offers wide containerisation opportunities for fertiliser exporters. Leading Russian producers of nitroammophos, ammonium nitrate and carbamide ship more than 2000 TEU a year via the GCS off-dock terminals. Since 2011, the company has also provided stuffing of containers, notably with sulphur, a waste product from oil refining that is being exported in ever-greater volumes from Russia to China and SE Asia.
Another important investment that has been undertaken by GCS in recent years has been the development of a terminal complex for the loading of bulk liquids into flexi-tanks. The main items handled are motor oils and polymers, exported from Russia to the Far East and East Med. In cooperation with flexi-tank operators, GCS offers containerisation and transportation for high grade and base oil and petrochemical products. Volumes are now running at about 1500 TEU/year.
Andrey Naraevsky, GCS's Director Liner and Business Development, says his company is ready to invest further into facilities such as bulk storage areas, conveyors and pumping and bagging plants:
"We will be capable of handling a variety of bulk commodities moving through various Russian ports including St Petersburg and Novorossiysk."
Potential demand for the containerisation of bulk exports in Russia is enormous, believes Mr Naraevskiy:
"Approximately 70% of Russian non-oil & gas exports consist of dry and liquid bulk products such as ores, coal, fertilisers, petrochemicals etc. We believe there to be a huge growth opportunity in the containerisation of some of these bulk traffics to the benefit of shippers, terminals and shipping lines.
"It will also be possible to switch some cargoes currently moved in bags and drums into containerised bulk, saving substantially on the cost of labour and packaging."
In the first half of 2012, Russian container exports surged by almost 17.5%, due in part to the transfer of certain traffic flows into containers fitted with flexi-tanks or simple liners.
Ruscon, a member of the GCS Group, is one of Russia's leading multimodal specialists and already operates several inland terminals in Novorossiysk and Moscow. The company is an expert in developing and implementing advanced containerisation concepts at its own terminals and is considered as one of the industry leaders in this segment.
Naraevsky says GCS has been looking closely at the European scene where many large cargo flows move in ISO containers:
"If it makes sense in Europe, it must make even more sense in Russia. The structure of Russian foreign trade, the distances between production locations and ports, and the condition of inland infrastructure call for more containerisation. And of course we have to cope with the Russian rail wagon congestion and severe winter conditions at some gateways, when containers can be the only option for the expedient shipment of freight."