Russia shows interest to develop maritime route between Russia's far east & Chennai

Russia looks to forge new business ties with Chennai including a maritime corridor linking Vladivostok and Chennai

Representative image of a sea port (Photo: Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Representative image of a sea port (Photo: Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


Russia has shown keenness to send a business delegation to Chennai to explore business opportunities, including developing an alternative maritime route between Vladivostok and the southern metropolis.

This was conveyed to Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal here during a meeting with a Russian delegation led by Sergey Mochalnikov, Deputy Minister of Energy Minister, Russian Federation and Maxim Reshetnikov from the Ministry of Economic Development of Russian Federation, according to an official statement.

Sonowal also extended an invitation for an Indo-Russian workshop on Eastern Maritime Corridor in Chennai to provide a common meeting ground among the port authorities of Russian far east and India, Russian railways, logistics and shipping companies of both the countries, coking coal trade transporters of India and Russia among others.

Sonowal is in Vladivostok leading an Indian delegation to take part in the 8th Eastern Economic Forum meeting.

The Russian government expressed their desire to visit the Chennai port with a large business delegation to explore opportunities and possibilities through bilateral discussions, the statement said.

Speaking on the occasion, the union minister said the operationalisation of Eastern the Maritime Corridor (EMC) will usher a new era of trade relationship between India and Russia.

"Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India remains firmly committed towards making innovative solutions that will enhance and further foster the strong bilateral relationship between our two great nations.

"As our teams hedged their effort for an early operationalisation of EMC, the visit to Vladivostok, Vostochny, Nakhodka and Kozmino was particularly helpful. Taking this forward, I propose for a workshop of all stakeholders at Chennai in India and extend our invitation to this workshop where we can meet, interact and discuss for smooth and swift operationalisation of EMC," he said.

Sonowal was addressing at the session aimed at forging possibilities on early operationalisation of EMC as an alternative trade route between Russian port city of Vladivostok and Indian port city of Chennai.

The workshop is proposed to take place from 30 October to 1 November, 2023 in Chennai.

Referring to India's maritime programme and its flagship programme Sagarmala, Sonowal said in 2015, the transformative flagship initiative of Sagarmala was launched with the objective to boost India’s logistics sector performance, by unlocking the full potential of India's coastline and waterways.

The vision of Sagarmala is to reduce logistics cost for both domestic and EXIM cargo with optimised infrastructure investment through port-led development, he said.

Currently, there are 802 projects worth investment of more than USD 65 billion for implementation under the Sagarmala project by 2035. Out of which, 228 projects worth USD 14.6 billion have been completed and 260 projects worth USD 27 billion are under implementation.

Further, 314 projects worth USD 24 billion are under various stages of development. Further, under holistic development of coastal districts, a total of 567 projects with an estimated cost of around USD 7 billion have been identified.

The Eastern Maritime Corridor is estimated to reduce the time required to transport cargo between Indian and Russian Ports of far east region by up to 16 days, i.e., 24 days in comparison to over 40 days currently taken to transport goods from India to Far East Russia via Europe.

Present trade route between Mumbai in India and St Petersburg in Russia covers a distance of 8,675 nautical miles which takes approximately 35 to 40 days. The Chennai-Vladivostok sea route (EMC) will be covering a distance of about 5,600 nautical miles.

A large container ship which travels at the normal cruising speed of 20-25 knots (37-46 km/hour), will be able to cover this distance in approximately 10 to 12 days.

This corridor holds immense potential to unlock new opportunities for trade and cooperation, the statement said

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Published: 13 Sep 2023, 10:38 AM