Auto industry rebound jacks up ocean rates to Russia
A rebounding Russian auto industry has led to rate increases of between 12 and 15 percent in ocean rates on services from Europe and Asia.
The year-over-year increases in rates this October have put EU-Russia shipping rates at between $1,150 and $1,250 per TEU and $2,000 to $2,200 per TEU.
The growth has been most pronounced on the busiest trades to Russia: Hamburg-St. Petersburg, Rotterdam-St. Petersburg, and Shanghai-St. Petersburg. The Russian Ministry of Transport expects that the growth will continue through Russian Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7.
St. Petersburg is historically the center of Russia’s automotive production, which is recovering after two years of decline brought about by the fall of oil prices and Western sanctions over Russian involvement in Ukraine. Russian vehicle sales fell 11 percent in 2016 compared with the prior year, according to IHS Markit.
Before the sanctions, Russian auto part imports through St. Petersburg came to about 600,000 TEU before falling to between 350,000 and 400,000 TEU in 2015 and 2016.
Passenger vehicle production rose 20.7 percent to 647,000 units in the first half of the year, as Russian consumers have adjusted to the new economic reality and the government has created incentives such as low interest loans, according to IHS Markit, which added that there are signs such state support for the sector is starting to wind down.
Russia’s GDP rose 1.5 percent year over year in the first half, accelerating from 0.5 percent growth in the first quarter to 2.5 percent in the second, which suggests that the economic rebound is on firm footing, according to IHS Markit. Full-year GDP growth is expected to clock in at 1.7 percent before rising to 2.1 percent in 2018.
The increase in production and recovery in domestic demand has led the Ministry of Transport to forecast that auto imports through the Baltic Basin, of which St. Petersburg is a part, will amount to between 500,000 and 550,000 TEU and 45 percent of the region’s total imports.
Baltic Basin container volumes increased 11.4 percent year over year in the first eight months of the year to 1.5 million TEU, led by a 15 percent surge in exports to 785,000 TEU and a 10 percent increase in imports to 720,000 TEU.