Eastern promises

“Beginning life with two chartered 200 TEU vessels, the company was established in 2004 as an independent, privately owned short sea container line offering transportation services between Rotterdam and Saint Petersburg, Russia,” explains Antti Linteri, line manager of Delta Shipping Lines. “Handling a mix of its own cargo and deep sea feeder goods, the company grew quickly, adding a port call in Hamburg in January 2006, before entering the Danish and Swedish markets a year later. In 2010 a service was introduced from Tilbury in the UK and in Dunkirk, France, and 2011 has seen the company also add Poland to its list of countries served.”

Focused on delivering container shipments to and from Saint Petersburg, the company calls at three different terminals in Port of Saint Petersburg , offering its customers a distinctive choice when it comes to exporting cargo to Russia: “Simply put, the reason the comp has worked so hard from day one to become the leading container shipping line to Russia is because it is a country that has always displayed a great deal of growth potential,” Antti continues. “In many ways it is a niche market and one that cannot really be compared to any other EU country, particularly when it comes to customer demands, legislation and regulations.

“There is still a lot of work to be done in Russia, which is why the company has worked so hard to become a major player in this particular market. With Russia still being heavily reliant on European and overseas imports there will remain a steady inflow of cargo coming into the region, regardless of what factors effect the global economy in the near future.”

In partnership with the Korean deep sea carrier, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Delta Shipping Lines today operates a fleet of four modern ice classed container vessels, all of which have been converted to enable them to carry 45 foot containers, creating a fleet that has a total capacity of approximately 4000 units: “The cargo itself is quite a varied mix with its levels often dictated by seasonal changes. At this time the market for fruit, vegetables and meat is particularly strong, but throughout the year the company carries cargo including hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals, car parts, building materials and electronics,” Antti says. “The company also exports out of Saint Petersburg, with this side of the market centred around forest products, so newsprint paper, which is sent to the UK and the continent, and quite a high volume of plywood. These materials alone make up approximately three quarters of all of Delta Shipping Lines’ Russian exports.”

As the only major container operator in Europe that is solely focused on the Russian market, one of Delta Shipping Lines’ core strengths is its ability to offer its customers a specialist, expert service: “Virtually all of the company’s competitors run multiple routes to various destinations, which inevitably leads to an occasional strain in resources. This is not a problem for Delta Shipping Lines,” highlights Antti. “As a privately owned, flexible company, the decision making process is always very fluid, so if any of its services need to be amended or any changes are needed to be made to the vessels, these decisions can be taken and implemented in rapid fashion.”

With container volumes picking up as we enter the fourth quarter of 2011, there is a cautious air of optimism within the company that can also be attributed to its positive attitude towards expansion: “Delta Shipping Lines is a company that is always looking for new regions from which it can load cargo and transport it to Russia,” Antti enthuses. “At present it is closely examining those areas of Europe that are perhaps not as well connected to Russia as they could be and these are the sorts of places that could benefit substantially from the added value Delta Shipping Lines can bring.

“Right now the company is actively seeking opportunities to link up with other carriers in relationships where fixed costs can be shared. Within its existing network Delta Shipping Lines retains strong growth potential and with all but one of its ports being served just once a week at present. Increasing the frequency of its services is just one of a number of aspects of its business that the company will be moving towards in the years to come as it strives to expand its footprint further across Europe.”

The only European container line dedicated to the Russian market
Able to handle multiple forms of cargo
Ambitious plans to grow through its existing network