Vladivostok Smart Port To Boost China and Asia Shipping

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  • Russia’s first Smart Port
  • Considerable savings for Chinese shippers
  • Improved access to Asia and Europe
  • Developing Free Trade Zone and Export manufacturing capabilities  

Vladivostok has become the first commercial port in Russia to join the TradeLens blockchain platform, which unites the world’s largest carriers and terminal operators to streamline trade with smart technology.

In a statement, TradeLens said the platform the Port of Vladivostok will use is being developed by GTD Solution Inc, a joint subsidiary of A.P. Moeller-Maersk (Maersk) and IBM, the two parties behind the blockchain initiative.

TradeLens optimizes transportation and tracking of goods through the exchange of data and digitized documents between cargo owners, shipping companies, customs authorities, port and terminal operators.‍

“We are now testing the system and transferring information about loading and discharge of cargo, berthing of vessels to the blockchain platform,” said Anton Popov, director of the IT department in Commercial Port of Vladivostok.

“After complete integration of the system, we will be able to optimize work with regulatory authorities, reduce the time required for processing documents and receive updates from the sea carrier online.”

‍TradeLens is designed to allow carriers and cargo owners to not only exchange transaction information in real time, but also send trade documents to each other.

Blockchain technology helps to reduce the processing time of paper documents, making it faster and easier to issue bills of lading for cargo, sanitary certificates, invoices for payment and other types of documentation.

Vladivostok is strategically important and increasingly so as it is the main Eastern Hub for the Northern Sea Passage, which is expected to double shipments from Asia to Europe over the next four years. This is in addition to its existing facilities, which include the eastern rail terminus for the Trans-Siberian rail network to Europe and lines through to China and Central Asia. The TSR routes are expected to more than double their TEU handling to 500,000 annually by 2024.

Vladivostok is also home to shipping routes to nearby Japan and South Korea and further afield to India. Using Vladivostok Port for cargo transport to China’s North-Western Provinces of Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin saves China’s shippers about 3,000 yuan (US$474) per container. The distance between Suifenhe, a city in the southeastern Heilongjiang province, and Vladivostok is only 230 kilometers (143 miles), compared with almost 1,500 kilometers to the nearest Chinese port, Dalian.

Chinese inland transit traffic through Vladivostok should increase to 2.5 million to 3 million TEU in 2022 depending on the development/expansion pace at Vladivostok, with the TradeLens application expected to help achieve this.

Vladivostok also includes a Free Trade Zone, and incentives for foreign investors to process Russian sourced products for export abroad. Russia is a major producer of oil and gas in addition to diamonds, gold, lumber and other commodities.

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Russia Briefing is written by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Eurasia, including China, Russia, India, and the ASEAN nations, assisting foreign investors into the Eurasian region. Please contact Maria Kotova at russia@dezshira.com for Russian investment advisory or assistance with market intelligence, legal, tax and compliance issues throughout Asia.

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