The population in the Russian Far East has difficulties in getting some essential food items. Authorities explain seaports are jammed because of the intense maritime traffic. Ice in the alternative Northern Sea route also surprised and trapped several ships.
On November 10, the ministry of Transport of Russia acknowledged some difficulties in the delivery of goods in ports of the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia, the gigantic easternmost part of the country approximately going from Lake Baikal to the Pacific Ocean.
Russian officials explain the reason for empty shelves is the congestion of seaports due to the worldwide intense maritime traffic, as operators redirect their routes from the jammed Chinese ports and the Suez canal.
The issue particularly affects the port of Vladivostok, the largest port of Russia on the Pacific Ocean and relatively close to the Chinese ports, several regions in the Far East and the island of Sakhalin in the north of Japan.
Activity in the port of Vladivostok grew by 39% since the beginning of the year and containers start to pile up RIA Novosti, a state-owned Russian news agency, reports.
Icebreakers sent to a port in the Arctic
As shipments are stuck in ports, people in the regions of Sakhalin, Chukotka, Kamchatka or Magadan experience difficulties in finding some basic food products like onions, carrots, cabbage, apples, eggs or diary, according to Kommersant.
But delays also affect other goods like cement and other construction materials.
The autonomous district of Chukotka in the north east is particularly dependent on delivery of products by cargo. The governor of the region, Roman Kopin, regularly updates on the deliveries in the ports in the area on his Instagram account.
To speed up the delivery of goods, Russia will have a round-the-clock operation in the seaports and will increase assistance for unloading containers.
But as the Northern Sea Route is increasingly considered as an alternative maritime route, the region is still subject to freezing wind and cold temperatures. Since the end of October, ice has been thicker than anticipated.
And several ships are stuck in ice or struggling to go through. As such, Russia will also send two icebreakers in the Arctic port of Pevek to help.
The minister expects to solve the most important delivery issues by the end of November.