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Russian Bulk Exports Surge Despite Western Pressure

Russian-flagged bulk carrier Mikhail Nenashev is unloaded at the MMK Port in Dortyol near the Mediterranean town of Iskenderun, Turkey June 27, 2022. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik

Russian Bulk Exports Surge Despite Western Pressure

John Konrad
Total Views: 1183
August 23, 2023

Despite Western sanctions aimed at hindering Russian exporters, recent data reveals a significant surge in Russia’s seaborne dry cargo exports. Figures from Moscow’s Federal Agency for Sea and Inland Water Transport (Rosmorrechflot) claim that Russian seaport cargo turnover grew by 9.3% in the first seven months of the year, reaching 526.8m tonnes.

A major factor behind this growth is the Black Sea region, particularly the areas annexed by Russia from Ukraine. The Azov/Black Sea basin continues to be a pivotal point for Russia’s port sector, as highlighted by a statement from Rosmorrechflot.

Tradewinds is reporting transshipments of dry cargo from the region’s Russian-controlled ports saw a remarkable 30% increase year on year, hitting 83.4m tonnes. Key exports from these ports include grain, minerals, chemical fertilizers, coal, and coke. Additionally, liquid cargo shipments also experienced a steady 9.9% rise to 91.5m tonnes.

Such numbers underscore Russia’s resilience in maintaining its foreign trade, even in the face of multiple Western sanctions. Contradictorily, Russia had earlier used these sanctions as a pretext to abandon a United Nations plan meant for the safe export of Ukrainian grain.

The Sea of Azov, which serves as the gateway for the Caspian Sea and Russia’s extensive inland waterways, is crucial for sustaining Russian dry cargo exports. This raises two pressing questions: Firstly, will Ukraine’s ongoing assaults on the Kerch Strait bridge further impede vessel traffic? Secondly, if Ukrainian forces reclaim coastal areas near Mariupol, might we see shipping attacks shift from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov?

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