On the basis of the new division, the company has expanded its services connected with the transportation of grain and other agricultural products. AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG now offers sea and river transport solutions for any kind of bulk crop, rail transport via special wagons for grain, as well as trade operations on FOB and CIF bases for the loading of grains, oils, and processed products.
Data collected by the Ministry of Agriculture of Russian Federation suggests that potential grain exports in the current season (from 1st July 2016 till 30th June 2017) may reach 40 million tons, with 35-37 million tons to be shipped. While realizing the first phase of the Grain Logistics project, the main export destinations were identified: Turkey and Azerbaijan. The annual export volume of grain cultures from Russia to Turkey is 3-4 million tons and 0.5-1 million to Azerbaijan. 90% of crops are shipped by sea transport, resulting in the project's emphasis on bulk cargo transport by sea. A distinctive feature of transportation to Azerbaijan is the ability to deliver goods by rail, while sea is the preferred method to Turkey. The new routes increase the diversification of services offered by the company.
With the Grain Logistics Division, AsstrA has entered the Azov-Black Sea regional market as a freight forwarder and provider of road, railway and sea transport services. The volume of crop export flows from the Azov-Black Sea region is 55-60 million tons, a robust figure accounting for about 27-30% of the region's general bulk cargo. “Despite the organic volume, logistics companies are weakly represented in this segment of market and we see it as a great opportunity for us to take over this empty niche,” says Vladimir Zvyagin, manager of AsstrA's Grain Logistics project.
AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG has been providing grain carriage services since 2008. Remarkable volume in the segment was achieved in 2014, when the annual level of turnover from grain transport exceeded 1,000,000 EUR. “Currently, transportation of grain – mainly barley and corn – makes up 1% of the group's general turnover. In the first stages of the Grain Logistics project, we plan to raise the volume of agricultural products to 5% of our shipped cargo, or over 5 million tons,” continues Mr. Zvyagin. “This season we are experiencing increased demand in Southeast Asia. We see further room for project growth in Egypt, Tunisia, and the countries of Southern Africa and Southeast Asia.”