INDUSTRY REASSURED ON RUSSIAN FAR EAST SHIPPING

INDUSTRY REASSURED ON RUSSIAN FAR EAST SHIPPING

Ship and barge lines sailing between the Russian Far East and the Pacific Northwest are trying to distance themselves from turmoil in Moscow as they gear up for trade growth.

Americans who returned last week from Vladivostok's first major conference on commercial shipping and trade since the 1917 Bolshevik revolution said Russians in the Far East actively are seeking to disassociate themselves from the Moscow fighting."The Port of Vladivostok is a calm, peaceful gateway for the influx of capital investment in Russia," said Mikhail Robkanov, Vladivostok's port president. "We want to make the American and Russian people feel that this is a place that they can be comfortable doing business."

The port chief said he believes the announcement of several new shipping and trade developments in Vladivostok show that commerce with Russia's Pacific Coast shouldn't be interrupted by events 6,000 miles away in Moscow.

Executives at Sea-Land Service Inc., which already loads containers from Japanese ports onto the Trans-Siberian Railroad at the Port of Vostochny, announced plans to open a second Russian Far East office at Vladivostok this month, he said.

The new office will help plan Sea-Land's proposed refrigerated container service for the coastal Primorsky region around Vladivostok. Sea-Land already has truckers delivering dry containers throughout that region.

Paul Scott, Sea-Land's director of Russian ventures, is in Moscow near the site of Monday's clashes, his U.S. office reported. The shipping line said Mr. Scott and other Sea-Land employees disclosed by telephone that they are safe and in no danger.

Far Eastern Shipping Co., based in Vladivostok, also said at the conference that cargo volume has risen steadily since it resumed calls in the Pacific Northwest last December.

Bob Guinan, president of Fesco Agencies in Seattle, said the shipping line used the conference to develop more details on its plan to start a new service between the West Coast, Australia and Hong Kong next year.

Fesco is studying the prospects of adding a new group of four to six ships that might call in the Pacific Northwest, the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California before sailing to Australia and New Zealand, Mr. Guinan said. The ships then would head north to Hong Kong and other Far East ports, returning from there to the West Coast.

"Because Fesco is based in Vladivostok, we don't expect the situation in Moscow to affect its operations," Mr. Guinan said.

Rusty Devereaux, director of Russian projects for Alaska Cargo Transport in Seattle, also told the conference that his company had delivered a barge load of cargo to the Russian Far East. Sunmar Shipping also is exploring the possibility of running barges to Vladivostok.