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India resumes shipments to Russia

India has reportedly started shipment of goods to Russia again after two Russian banks have started facilitating payments in both Rupee-Ruble and Euro.

Last week, dozens of containers full of rice, tea, coffee and seafood among others were shipped to Russia through ports in Georgia.

This is the first time goods from India are exported to Russia as stores in Moscow went empty after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

India is also importing low cost Russian fuel oil as offered by Moscow to maintain its foreign currency reserve.

Russian Sberbank and Alfa Bank are facilitating the bilateral trade, according to Indian traders. Officials of both countries have chalked out plans on how to restart trading and payments, especially in Rupee and Ruble.

India is one of the big Russian allies who had been maintaining close ties with Moscow since the war began and the western nations imposed various political and economic sanctions on the invader.

Trade had been stalled between Russia and most of the countries as global shipping lines have stopped calling Russian ports for commercial carriage. After that, the government of India formed a committee headed by chief executive officer of the Indian National Shipowners’ Association Anil Devli to help the Indian traders find out ways to access shipping facilities.

However, India now found alternative shipping access to reach the cargoes mainly to ports of Georgia towards Russia.

Ajay Sahai, director general and CEO of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, said the transactions are taking place through Russia’s largest lender namely Sberbank.

Ashwin Shah, director at Shah Nanji Nagji Exports, a leading rice exporter to Russia said last week they shipped 60 containers of non-basmati rice to Russia, each weighing 22,000 kilos.

He added that payment for this trade was transacted by Russia-based Alfa Bank while the Bank of Maharashtra handled the Indian part.

India has annual trade of US$8 billion with Russia of which import is around US$5.5 billion mainly governed by oil and diamonds. Indian top exports are pharmaceuticals, machinery, rice and other foodstuffs.

Sharar Nayel
Asia Correspondent

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