Port Representatives Hold Discussions with Russian Business Leaders
After a marked downturn in container traffic between Hamburg and Russian ports on the Baltic last year, in the 2016 first half container handling at 216,000 TEU (20-ft standard containers) again achieved an increase of 2.3 percent. That seaborne foreign trade between Hamburg and the Russian ports is again picking up despite ongoing economic sanctions was warmly welcomed among the 240 guests at Hamburg’s traditional Port Evening in St. Petersburg. Organized by the Port of Hamburg Marketing Representative Office in St. Petersburg, on 22 September the event brought together high-ranking representatives of the Russian transport and logistics sector and partners from the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. In numerous discussions, the focus was primarily on the questions: When will sanctions end and will the Russian economy’s foreign trade recover?
In welcoming the guests, Ingo Egloff, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM), said that attendance by such a large number of guests underlined the excellent relations between Hamburg and St. Petersburg, which have been twinned since 1957 in a city partnership, also later by a port partnership. “For many years Hamburg and St. Petersburg have cultivated successful cultural, economic, scientific and social contacts. Our aim must be to strengthen and further develop these through intensive dialogue and constructive cooperation,” stressed Egloff. In greeting those present, Andreas Rieckhof, Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg’s Ministry of Economics, Transport and Innovation, urged them to mount more joint projects and to expand existing alliances. Igor Lonski, Deputy Chairman of the St Petersburg City Government’s Committee for Foreign Relations, used his opening speech to wish business in both ports much success, growing seaborne cargo throughput, and continued excellent cooperation against a background of stable economic-political conditions.
Delegation from the Metropolitan Region impressed by Port of Bronka tour
In advance of the Port Evening, representatives of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG, C. Steinweg (Süd-West-Terminal), Lübecker Hafen-Gesellschaft and Seehafen Kiel, among others, joined Under-Secretary Rieckhof, Dr. Stefan Kordasch, Deputy German Consul-General and staff of Port of Hamburg Marketing to visit the Universal Port of Bronka, St. Petersburg’s new deepwater port, which entered service at the end of 2015. Dr. Stefan Wilkens, General Manager of the Container Terminal, explained plans for its further development to the visitors, and the strategic significance of the new handling facility for future freight flows between the Russian Federation and Germany. The Port of Bronka currently offers an annual handling capacity of 1.45 million TEU plus 200,000 units at its RoRo terminal. For Dr Wilkens, existing contacts with the Port of Hamburg and companies in the Metropolitan Region constitute a superb basis for future alliances and joint projects.
Constructive discussion with the Vice-Governor of the City of St. Petersburg
Members of the Hamburg delegation, which also included Grimex and European Cargo Logistics, were invited by Under-Secretary Rieckhof to join Sergey Movtschan, Deputy Governor of the City St. Petersburg, for a working meal to provide mutual briefing on the current state of economic relations between the two partner cities. This enabled the representatives of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region to discuss the special challenges caused by the restraints on doing business after imposition of sanctions, and the chances of opportunities for cooperation. Movtschan rated cooperation between St. Petersburg and Hamburg as very good, adding that “The future lies in the hands of those enterprises that opt for alliances. Here it is immaterial whether a firm has its head office in Russia or in Germany. It is far simpler to operate together and not just to go it alone.”
Headed by Natalia Kapkajeva, since 2003 the HHM Representative Office in St Petersburg has been deeply committed to championing the cultivation and expansion of good relations between Russia and Hamburg. Providing HHM member companies and Russian partners with business contacts, and data on freight and transport flows in seaborne foreign trade, the St Petersburg standard bearer for the Port of Hamburg is extremely well networked and supported on the market.
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