Carmakers using the Russian Commercial Sea Port of Ust-Luga can now benefit from long-term vehicle storage of up to three years without paying customs duties at the Novaya Gavan vehicle terminal operated by Russian Transport Lines (RTL). According to the company, the development follows the inclusion by the Central Excise Customs authority in Russia of the Novaya Gavan terminal in the list of customs warehouse operations eligible for the dispensation. Nissan Manufacturing Rus is reported to be the first customer to benefit, with the first volume of vehicles already now in storage.

RTL said the new service is expected to see strong demand, as the average storage period for imported vehicles to Russia increases due to drop-off sales in the country. According to figures released this week by the Association of European Business’s Automobile Manufacturers Committee (AEB AMC), sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles in Russia declined by 8% in October compared to the same month in 2012. Sales of vehicles climbed to just more than 234,480 last month, which was almost 19,540 fewer than in October last year.

“[The] general sales trend remains weak on a rather consistent level,” said Joerg Schreiber, chairman of the AEB AMC. “Neither do we see signs for improvement, nor for further deterioration. As we are approaching the year end it becomes clear that the long-awaited market stabilisation is unlikely to happen before the end of 2013.”

RTL’s service will provide importers with more logistics flexibility, said the company, and give the terminal a competitive advantage in the Russian market.

"We are exceptionally pleased with the customs warehouse start-up in Novaya Gavan,” said Konstantin Skovoroda, chairman of the Board of Directors of RTL Group. “At Novaya Gavan automakers will be able to get new logistics services that are comparable to the operating conditions of automotive hubs in Europe. Furthermore, extra cost-saving caused by delayed period of customs duties payment is significant for our customers.”

Novaya Gavan ro-ro terminal was founded in 2011 as a separate cargo area in the northern-most part of Ust-Luga port, 14km from Vistino, with storage capacity of up to 10,000 vehicles over 24 hectares. It also provides border checkpoints and customs control (read more here).