Sovcomflot, the Russian state owned tanker company, sees cruise industry as a potential direction to diversify the business of the company. “This is interesting (cruise industry), this could be something for us in the long run,” a senior Sovcomflot executive told Cruise Business Online at a trade show in St Petersburg earlier this autumn.
The Russian economy has expanded rapidly in recent years due to high raw material prices and various cruise lines have tapped the Russian market. However, the country does not have a national brand that would solely target the Russian market at the moment. Earlier this month, Sovcomflot signed a contract with the Arctech shipyard in Helsinki for the construction of three ice breakers. The yard is a joint venture of STX Europe, which is part of the STX Business Group in South Korea, and United Shipbuilding Corporation, the Russian shipbuilder. Sources say the order could be increased to 15 vessels over time.
In other developments, St Peter Line, the St Petersburg based cruise ferry company, is looking for a second hand vessel that it would operate in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, with the Russian source market as target. At the moment, the company operates two second hand cruise ferries on year round services that link St Petersburg with Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm.
The Transtec 2012 trade show in St Petersburg that will run from 2 to 4 October next year will include a seminar called The Cruise Market and Russia - Expanding Horizons, with an aim to promote the development of cruise industry in Russia. Cruise Business Review will be the only publication focusing on the cruise industy that will be distributed to all delegates at the event.