Dutch transport group Samskip has taken over Lithuanian shortsea specialist Sea Connect in order to expand its Baltic presence.

The Lithuanian shipping firm, which will now be known as Samskip Sea Connect, sails three 1A ice class container vessels calling twice a week at St Petersburg, Russia, and Rotterdam, The Netherlands; weekly at Hamburg, Germany; and at Aarhus, Denmark, sub inducement.

The company provides shortsea services linking Lithuania, Denmark, Russia, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Samskip CEO Kari-Pekka Laaksonen said: “This acquisition strengthens our position in Russia, in the Netherlands and across a range of key Baltic ports in between.

“It enhances services for Samskip’s shortsea customers focusing on growth opportunities in Russia and adds opportunities for importers and exporters within the region to secure cost-efficient and sustainable multimodal connections farther afield.”

As part of its plan to broaden its Baltic operations, Samskip acquired Norlines in 2017, and also established a separate Finnish entity earlier this year.

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Laaksonen expects more deployment of Samskip’s ‘expert’ refrigerated cargo services in St Petersburg, along with an increase in unitised volumes linking Russia and the Baltic states, using varied transport methods, through Rotterdam and across Europe.

Laaksonen added: “Russian exporters and importers are likely to be attracted by new possibilities to penetrate markets to the west and south using Samskip’s network of shortsea, rail, inland barge and road services.”

Sea Connect’s feeder connection with deep-sea carriers will remain after the completion of the deal.

Samskip currently operates 15 containerships, along with five reefer vessels.

The company transports 850,000 TEU through its intermodal network annually.