Rui Neng 8 Photo Global Field Line
Photo: Global Field Line

Chinese carrier Global Field Line (GFL), which began operations in September, has expanded into South Korea with a liner service connecting Busan port with Russia’s St Petersburg launching on 18 May.

A 2,000 teu vessel will be deployed on the service, which will connect Busan, Ningbo, Quanzhou, Shekou, Nansha, Jebel Ali and St Petersburg and is claimed to be the only sea link between Busan and St Petersburg.

Incorporated in Hong Kong in March 2022, GFL is owned by four Chinese nationals, Feng Chun (24%), Yu Yang (22%), Hu Wei (22%), Song Xiaoning (22%) and Shu Haijing (10%), all of whom previously worked for other Chinese container shipping companies.

GFL operates nine chartered feeder vessels on services focused on connecting Russia with Asia, India and the Persian Gulf, and joins a number of other newcomers to Russian routes, unfazed by international sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Linerlytica’s latest report says that, as of 1 May, 101 ships, of 112,137 teu, are active in the Russia Far East trade, up from the 96 vessels a month ago.

Korea Customs Service said that, in 2021, annual import and export flows between South Korea and Russia were around 840,000 teu, making Russia the country’s fifth-largest trading partner after China, the US, Japan and Vietnam. Automobiles, car parts, cosmetics and synthetic resins are the main exports to Russia.

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