The leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey met in Tehran this week to discuss new shipping routes.
Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) has begun expanding its network to facilitate the movement of Russian cargo to India through the North-South International Transport Corridor (INSTC), a land-sea corridor through more than a dozen countries to bypass Western sanctions against Russia.
The corridor reportedly entered the operational phase after completing a pilot phase in June, when containers of wood laminates sailed from St. Petersburg to the Indian port of Navaseva.
The cargo arrived in India earlier this month after arriving at the Iranian port of Anzali in the Caspian Sea and Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf from the southern Russian port of Astrakhan.
In September 2000, INSTC, an intermodal network of ships, rail and road transporting goods between Eastern Europe and South Asia, was established for the first time. Interest in this route waned over time due to geopolitical obstacles, but was reintroduced after the Ukraine conflict.
IRISL is said to have allocated 300 containers for ocean freight cargo transportation between Russia and India, and the number of these containers will continue to increase if demand increases.
In addition, Turkish cruise line “Medkon Lines” launched a new route connecting Turkey and Russia’s Black Sea port Novorossiysk with a 707-teu (teu) vessel from August. Medkon also linked Turkey and Ukraine until the end of February.
Earlier this year, Russian cargo companies also launched their own liner services, connecting their domestic ports with China and India. Most of the world’s liner companies have drastically reduced their Russian operations since the Ukrainian invasion.
Modul has established a container service specifically for India connecting the Grand Port of St. Petersburg and the Indian port of Nawasheva. The service is operated by an unnamed 1094 teu vessel with a 25-day lead time.