Russia to boost port grain export capacity

Russia plans to more than double its port grain export capacity by 2005 from a current seven million tons a year through building new terminals, Deputy Agriculture Minister Anatoly Mikhalyov said on Tuesday. "Grain export capacities at ports will increase to 15 million tons by 2005," he was quoted as saying. Currently new grain export terminals are being built at the country's Black Sea ports of Novorossiysk and Tuapse, the Azov Sea port of Taganrog, the Baltic Sea port of St. Petersburg and the Pacific ports of Vostochny and Vanino.

Russia, which became a leading grain exporter last year, currently has to rely largely on ports in neighboring Ukraine and in the ex-Soviet Baltic states. Mikhalyov said Russia had exported 13.7 million tons of grain in 2002, a fourfold increase from the previous year, the Russia Journal reported.