The delivery time of goods from China to Russia may increase even more, despite the desire of both parties to reduce delivery times

Many trading enterprises in Russia often ask one question - why are there now such delays in the supply of Chinese goods to Russia?


This is due to the fact that most of the deliveries from China are carried out using regular international container lines, where a container ship from China usually goes to one of the two largest transport hubs in Europe (Rotterdam or Antwerp), and then the container is reloaded onto a smaller vessel and goes to your country. For example, in Russia such vessels in most cases go to St. Petersburg, Ust-Luga and Kaliningrad (naturally, St. Petersburg has the largest share).


This way of course increases the delivery time for containers with goods from China to Russia (about 60 days), but the cost of delivery becomes cheaper than with direct delivery from China. However, now the delivery time has become longer, this is due to the fact that now, after the imposition of sanctions against Russia, European operators inspect containers to Russia much more carefully, if earlier it took up to three hours for the entire ship, now each container is being inspected with goods for Russia, which significantly increases the time of delivery of all cargo from Europe to Russia.


However, these difficulties may be temporary, and may even increase, since now there is an inspection of containers for Russia that were sent from China in January 2022, when there was no talk of sanctions yet - everything is unloaded in a European port, Russian containers and their inspection is underway. This causes unnecessary demurrage of the vessel and also causes an increase in the time of delivery of already goods to European countries. If trade restrictions are not imposed against Russia, then in the future China will already arrange containers differently so that it will be possible to immediately separate the containers destined for Russia, so the period of such operations will be shorter.


However, this should not be counted on, since the expansion of trade sanctions against Russia is very likely, the general cancellation of this supply scheme to Russia and the need to redirect Russian cargo directly from China to Russia arises.


Most likely, sea transportation from Chinese ports will soon be switched directly to Russian ports on the Far East (Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Vanino), in volumes that will allow the capacity of Russian ports or it will be necessary to urgently expand the capabilities of Russian ports to receive the entire volume of cargo from China.


But at present, the capacity of Russian ports in the Far East is not enough to receive the entire volume of cargo for Russia, and part of the cargo flow from China to Russia will still have to be sent through Europe, with a significantly longer delivery time, which may increase the likelihood of a trade deficit in Russia.


Although in the Far Eastern ports of Russia it is already possible to convert part of the terminals for containers, but then what to do with the transportation of coal and other raw materials through these ports. In addition, and most importantly, the railway lines in the Russian Far East and Siberia are not currently designed for a significant increase in freight traffic. Only in a few years, with the introduction of additional railway lines, it will be possible to talk about the full redirection of goods directly from China to Russia through the Far East, and now we will have to use European ports anyway.


However, some may recall the China-Kazakhstan-Russia container corridor, which is currently operating, but the capacity of the railways that serve this direction of cargo traffic from China to Russia will still not be enough to restore cargo traffic to its previous volume.


Thus, it is very likely that the delivery time of goods from China to Russia may increase, since Russian ports do not yet have significant capacities for receiving cargo in the same volumes, Russian railways in the Far East will not yet be able to transport the entire declared volume of cargo, and many Russian enterprises will have to wait longer for the delivery of goods ordered in China, since deliveries through Europe are generally in question now and it is not worth counting on them in the future, it is unlikely that in the next few years one can expect in most cases such delivery times as it was earlier - first of all, goods of strategic importance for Russian enterprises will go to Russia from China through the Far East, and everyone else will have to wait longer