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Samskip Buys Shortsea Specalist Sea Connect to Expand Baltic Network

expanding Baltic and shortsea services to Russia
Skamskip is expanding its Baltic operations (Skamskip)

Published Sep 24, 2021 4:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

European transport group Samskip will broaden its Baltic operations through the acquisition of shortsea specialist Sea Connect. The move to expand its service to Eastern Europe is seen as an effort to realize the opportunities for transshipments in the Baltic and the developing markets in Russia.

The Lithuania-based shipping company, which will be renamed Samskip Sea Connect, operates three 1A Ice Class container vessels offering shortsea services connecting Russia, Lithuania, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands. The vessels are modern 700 TEU containerships each equipped with 150 to 200 reefer plugs. Sea Connect calls twice a week at St. Petersburg and Rotterdam, as well as weekly at Hamburg and Aarhus in Denmark.    

“This acquisition strengthens our position in Russia, in the Netherlands, and across a range of key Baltic ports in between,” said Kari-Pekka Laaksonen, Chief Executive Officer, Samskip.  “It enhances services for Samskip’s shortsea customers focusing on growth opportunities in Russia and adds opportunities for importers and exporters within the region to secure cost-efficient and sustainable multimodal connections farther afield.”

Experts have predicted strong growth for the feeder networks in the coming years as the major carriers concentrate on larger vessels serving hub destinations. Samskip, which maintains a broad network primarily serving Europe, Scandinavia, and Iceland, has been working to further expand its operations in the Baltic. Samskip’s 2017 acquisition of Nor Lines from DSD Group, included terminals, warehousing, and transport in Norway. The company also took five vessels under time charter as part of the transaction. This year, Samskip also launched a new operation in Finland.

Laaksonen anticipates particular growth in unitized volumes connecting Russia and the Baltic states through Rotterdam by rail, barges, vessels all over Europe, and also greater deployment of Samskip’s refrigerated cargo services in St Petersburg. “Russian exporters and importers are likely to be attracted by new possibilities to penetrate markets to the west and south using Samskip’s network of shortsea, rail, inland barge, and road services,” he added. Sea Connect’s feeder links with deep-sea carriers will also continue he noted. 

Samskip currently operates 15 containerships as well as five reefer vessels. The company transports 850,000 TEU annually through its intermodal network.