NEW N. AMERICAN LINE SERVES RUSSIAN FAR EAST

NEW N. AMERICAN LINE SERVES RUSSIAN FAR EAST

There's a new carrier on the Russian Far East block, North Pacific Lines, which will begin a monthly service between the Pacific Northwest and the Port of Vanino in September.

Rod Wallace, president of Cascadia Container Line Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia, and one of the principals behind the new service, said North Pacific will take delivery of the Katerina L, a chartered 15,000-deadweight- ton multi-purpose ship, today. Cascadia is the general agent in North America for North Pacific Lines.The Greek-flag vessel will have European officers and crew, Mr. Wallace said. Eventually, a second vessel will be chartered, he said.

Details on the rotation of port calls and frequency have not been finalized, he said. He said there likely will be two calls in the Northwest, with a good chance that Vancouver, Canada's largest port, will be one of them. Feeder calls to and from ports in China, Korea and Japan are also part of the service options.

"Nothing is etched in stone, but we'll concentrate initially on Vanino," Mr. Wallace said. Vanino is in the Khabarovsk Krai territory, located on the Sea of Okhotsk in the strait between the mainland and Sahkalin Island.

The port is a year-round, ice-free, deep-water facility with direct access to the Baikal Amur and Trans-Siberian railroads. It has a container terminal and covered container freight station, plus a cold storage facility.

Mr. Wallace said North Pacific will haul general merchandise to Russia and return with raw materials from Russia, but he was not specific about the cargoes the line will carry.

"We feel there's a market for us and that we'll make money," he said.

Nor was he specific about the ownership of the service. There are no Russian partners in the venture and the owners are American, Canadian and British citizens. "We're a North American company," he said.

North Pacific's headquarters are in San Francisco and its operating offices are in Vancouver. It is represented in Vanino by Trans Vanino Corp. The line's general agent outside of North America is International Bulk Trade of London.

North Pacific joins two other recent entrants in the Russian Far East trade.

Fesco Agencies N.A. operates Russian Pacific Line, a monthly roll-on, roll- off breakbulk and refrigerated service between Tacoma, Wash., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Korsakov, Magadan and Vladivostok. It uses three vessels.

Sunmar Container Lines operates a two-vessel container service to the same Russian cities, departing from Seattle every third Monday.