Sea freight service between N. Korea and Vladivostok to begin Tuesday: Interfax
A new freight shipping service between North Korea’s Rajin Port and Russia’s Vladivostok Port is set to begin Tuesday, the route’s operators told Russian media late last week.
The route will be operated by the InvestStroiTrest company, Interfax reported, and will use the DPRK-flagged 600 ton “Pyuong Hua” ship to run the weekly service.
“We start the process of sea transportation of goods from September 18 from the port of Vladivostok to Rajin,” InvestStroiTrest director Vladimir Baranov was quoted as having said.
“A small steam-ship ‘Pyuong Hua’ ([under] the flag of the DPRK) will be involved,” Baranov added. “It is planned that we will transport flour, meat, vegetable oil on the ship.”
No ship with this name could be found in international shipping records, however, and neither Baranov or InvestStroiTrest Deputy Director General Mikhail Timofeevich Khmel responded to requests for comment from NK News.
News of the new route comes amid increased public discussion of DPRK-Russian economic cooperation in the latter’s Far East.
A North Korean foreign ministry official last Thursday expressed the country’s intention to open a “trading house” in the Russian Far East region of Primorye (Primorsky Krai) to promote trade of domestic goods, according to the official website of the region.
Kim said the DPRK is interested in intensifying trade relations with the Primorsky Territory, and that the new trading house will serve to both promote North Korean products and hold exhibitions.
That meeting also saw DPRK officials point to the construction of a border crossing and a bridge “connecting the stations of Khasan and Tumangang” as further evidence of the two country’s growing ties.
The new shipping route will also not be InvestStroiTrest’s first foray into DPRK-Russia shipping, with the company having previously served as operators of an ill-fated Rajin-Vladivostok cruise line – once set to operate six trips between the two countries per month using the North Korean-owned Mangyongbong ship.
That service was just months after its launch suspended amid a legal dispute between InvestStroiTrest and Vladivostok port authorities, before restarting cargo transfers in October.
The Mangyongbong was then barred from entering Vladivostok Port in January this year, with Russian authorities claiming it was carrying goods prohibited for import into the country by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Deputy Director General Khmel at the time told NK News that the ship had been carrying “animal feed” and insisted he and his colleagues “could not” violate sanctions.
The vessel appears to be still stuck near Vladivostok, having last broadcast its location just outside the port on February 2.