Russia, one of SSL’s main strengths

Day of Russia

Day of Russia’s festivities 2

Meet Natasha Alexashina and Konstantin Vakula, who respectively head our Moscow and St Petersburg office. Collectively, Nata and Kostya have been with SSL for nearly 3 decades!

In this article, we will focus on some of the operations managed by these two key offices and, when better to do it than today; “Russia Day”, a national holiday which celebrates the declaration of state sovereignty this day 27 years ago. In honour of today, we want to share some insightful information about two of our four offices in Russia.

We are excited about the future of Russia, their GDP grew by 0.5% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017, while increasing by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2016. 1 With these figures, we expect a continued healthy recovery.

We chose to interview both Nata and Kostya to truly appreciate how much we have developed in Russia with the support of our friends, partners, clients and excellent team.

 

What are some of the daily challenges you may face?

Natasha: Fuel, currency, economic fluctuations, the list goes on, this said, all challenges are welcome and positive from my point of view, we operate in a constantly- changing industry and have experienced all sorts of situations. Through all the ups and downs, we know that SSL is a TEAM, we are all one team and almost a family; we share our problems to find unanimous solutions.

Konstantin: It could be something different every day, even every hour. We have a varied client base with respectable volumes going via our office in STP, so yes, challenges can be different, but we always find solutions. I am also responsible for the local TAPA TSR support, so I must follow up on any alarms and potential security issues.

 

What are some of the main products your office is moving into Russia?

N: SSL focus heavily in Automotive, heavy machinery, retail and FMCG. It’s a really good mix as it doesn’t stop there, we also carry a lot of projects which keeps us challenged.

K: Generally, our biggest deals are for apparel, spare parts, building materials, oil, and machinery. We also participate in a number of “Event” shipments which are when we pull out all the plugs.

1200px-Moscow_July_2011-16

A view of the Red Square, alongside the St. Basil Cathedral
and the Saviour Tower 3

Being in Russia, what are some of the opportunities you can take advantage of?

N: Moscow is the biggest city in Russia, with the largest population as well. Therefore, it is a strategic position for any company. The city gives us centralized control and a great communication line to clients, banks, etc. Moscow and St. Petersburg are also located much closer to borders, facilitating transport.

K: In the St. Petersburg office, we are able to run transactions in local currency and dive deeper into domestic logistics from one end of Russia to the other including border crossings to our neighbour countries. This gives an edge as we can avoid the currency fluctuation factor, which can be big.

 

What are some of the market trends you see in Russia?

N: The sanctions could be a negative market trend, but honestly, I don’t think it has had a significant influence on our business. At the very beginning we had some issues with part of our customer base, but after some weeks all these issues had been resolved. So, with regards to the sanctions, I wouldn’t say they had a drastic impact on us.

K: Post 2014 sanctions, we see a definitive upward trend, there is buoyancy, increased volumes and inquiries, thus far, appears to be a positive leap.

 

What do you enjoy the most about working with SSL?

N: The possibility to grow and develop myself. The fact I can be creative, travel for the company, meet people and experience different cultures. SSL is a diverse community of culture with nationalities spanning 18 countries.

K: New daily challenges; always something different. Meeting up with colleagues, partners and clients, from a multitude of backgrounds, keep’s me inspired and challenged.

 

What does the day of Russia mean to you?

N: Russia and Russians took a huge step forward, I began my working career in the 90’s. I had the chance to see the development of businesses and international trade in Russia. This day started to be a national celebration in 1992, it’s already been 25 years that Russians have been celebrating this holiday and each year I am overwhelmed with emotions for my country!

 

Thank you, Konstantin and Natasha, for continuing to help grow Spedition in Russia. Also, thank you for all the hard-working years you have been with us for.

Happy day of Russia!

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1 Guchshina, Yekaterina. “Russian Economy Continues to Recover in Q1.” Trading Economics. May 18, 2017. Accessed June 08, 2017. https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/gdp-growth-annual.

2 Belousov, Vitaliy. Day Of Russia Festivities. 2017. Web. 12 June 2017.

3 Wikimedia Commons. The Red Square, View From Northwest, Showing St Basil Cathedral And The Saviour Tower. 2011. Web. 12 June 2017.