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Banana supply headache fuels Russia-Latin America shipping route talks

Fesco, one of Russia’s largest transportation companies, said on Tuesday it was in negotiations to establish a shipping route between Russia and Latin America, in a move driven by the need for bananas from Ecuador.

The West has imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, while the world’s three largest container shipping lines, Denmark’s Maersk, France’s CMA CGM and Swiss-based MSC, have suspended bookings to and from Russia.

“We are currently holding negotiations with our partners – retailers who are interested in restoring lost routes,” Andrei Severilov, chairman of Fesco’s board of directors, said in a statement. The company is above all discussing delivering bananas from Ecuador, as well as agricultural products from other Latin American countries, he added.

Severilov said the key problem was the lack of a large capacity fleet and that Fesco plans to buy ships with more than twice the capacity of those it has today, up to 7,000 TEU, a measure of container capacity.

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits among Russian consumers. According to NielsenIQ data, bananas accounted for 21.7% of fruit sales in monetary terms between January and October this year.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Additional reporting by Olga Popova; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Josie Kao)

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