OREANDA-NEWS.  February 13, 2012.  The strong Siberian winter has now arrived in St. Petersburg inflicting extreme weather conditions. According to weather forecasts, ice density from St. Petersburg till Tolbukhin Lighthouse is expected to reach between 20-23cm, whilst floating ice density in Luga Bay is expected to reach only 10-20cm.

Unifeeder says it is doing its utmost to maintain schedule, but suggests that customers may care to consider routing their cargo via nearby Ust Luger instead, where it provides a weekly service. Apart from thinner ice, Ust Luga's big trump card is direct open water access, whereas St Petersburg has a tortuous single lane 19km ice-prone channel. The photo shows vessels waiting at the pilotage station, at the mouth of the channel, this time last year.

Interestingly, Maersk made its first call in Ust Luga yesterday, according to Lloyds List Intelligence's AIS data. Local press sources say 144 x 40ft containers loaded with trucks from China were discharged from the Maersk Vancouver (1,768TEU), which is deployed in the carrier's feeder service from Bremerhaven and Gdansk.

The first berths of National Container Company's state-of-the-art container terminal opened on December 29, 2011.