Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics has opened a new office in St Petersburg to strengthen its operations in Russia for the long term.
The company has been operating in Russia since 2003 and first called at St Petersburg in January this year when it established a transhipment service specifically for high and heavy ro-ro cargoes coming from the Americas and Asia. The office will now directly support the service which runs weekly from Gothenburg, Sweden to St Petersburg via Kotka in Finland carrying agricultural and construction equipment as well as vehicles (read more here).
The service is also being supported by additional feeder services from Bremerhaven, Germany and Zeebrugge, Belgium. The company has made initial calls at the port of St Petersburg to test the berthing facilities for its most recent generation of deep-sea ro-ro vessels. The M/V Tortugas and M/V Fidelio have made successful proving calls at the port in the last few weeks.
Anders Boman, Head of WWL Region Europe said: "The opening of our St Petersburg office is a milestone in developing our presence in Russia. Despite the current downturn, we believe in the Russian market for the long term. In the future we are looking to expand our offering in the country, adding Black Sea ports and rail for cargo originating in Asia to complement our Baltic Sea services.
"Customer demand will determine when and which services we introduce first into Russia alongside our existing ocean product. However, by the end of 2009 we intend to offer supply chain management expertise and inland transport using carefully selected third-party providers in the country," he added.
From the new office WWL plans to offer customers in Russia its full portfolio including ocean services, terminal and technical services, inland transport and supply chain management. Tenders will include trucks, buses, tractors and other rolling material and static break bulk cargo according to Kimmo Särmäkari, managing director of WWL Russia.
“We are working on several tenders both for export and import cargoes,” he added.
In other news, the company has announced it will use P&O Automotive and General Stevedoring (Poags) instead of Patrick as its Melbourne stevedore when its contract with Patrick expires at the end of this year. 
The company will relocate vessel operations at the Australian port under the new agreement which will be on January 7, 2010.
Poags will be WWL’s stevedore in Australia’s four main ports from January 1 next year.