UAE port operator Gulftainer, based in Sharjah, has signed a $275m deal to develop and operate Ust-Luga port in Russia.

Ust-Luga port is located near St Petersburg and is the main gateway into Russia’s Baltic Western region. The development of the port will also help ease capacity at the congested St. Petersburg port.

The development of the port will be the biggest port infrastructure project in Russian Federation.

“This is another big step for the Gulftainer Group as we expand our global footprint into the most dynamic region of Russia,” says Badr Jafr, vice-chairman of Gulftainer. “As the country’s vast potential is increasingly realised, the Baltic Western region will play a vital role, handling as it does about 60 per cent of Russian container volumes.”

Volumes through the Baltic have risen dramatically in recent years, but the potential for growth is significant.

Gulftainer hopes the port will handle 170 million tonnes of cargo when complete.