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  containers arrived by sea at the port of St. Petersburg. Now they need to be sent to the port of Vladivostok, from where they go by rail to their destinations,” Imirov said. For instance, the distance between Vladivostok, a city in the Russian Far East, and St. Petersburg is roughly 9,600 km. “Vladivostok turned out to be unprepared for such a sharp increase in transshipment volumes, and some of our containers waited for 2-3 months for custom clearance,” Imirov said, adding that, fortunately, the company accumulated sufficient warehouse stocks to make it through the turbulent times. From mid-2022, the Russian tyre market has started picking up. Imirov claimed that Russia’s turn to the East played a substantial role in this trend. Trucks are now going eastwards, through Siberia and the Urals, covering bigger distances. As a result, truck tyres are wearing out faster than before. “From Yekaterinburg to St. Petersburg is a distance similar to driving across the whole of Europe,” Imirov said, adding that compared with 2022, the company saw a rise in sales in the new tyre segment of beteen 20% to 40%. As a result, the market occasionally experienced shortages. “If you come to the store and say: I want such and such tyres, they almost certainly won’t be available”, Imirov said. “Most of the tyres are sold when the container has not yet entered Russia and has not passed customs clearance. It’s similar to Russian factories - tyres go to a strictly defined client. Finding the right tyres in retail is a challenge.” The supply of the off-the-road (OTR) tyre segment remains the most problematic, Imirov added. Chinese suppliers managed to fill the gap in this segment, but some deficit remains, and it is virtually impossible to find a tyre in this segment cheaper than 80,000 roubles ($800). Import remains Large Russian customers now rely on the domestic brands Kama and Cordiant. The capacity of the two largest tyre plants, however, is sufficient only to meet 20% of the internal demand, Imirov estimated. Russian authorities are working to put tyre plants abandoned by Western companies back into operation, but without imports, it is unrealistic to fully meet the domestic demand. Russia currently imports tyres from Belarus, Turkey and China, plus some quantities enter the country via a parallel import scheme from Western countries. Petromaster is not engaged in parallel import, but Imirov admitted there is still a demand for Western tyres in Russia. He explained that a portion of clients usually don’t care whether a tyre is imported using official channels since when it is a well-known brand, they have no doubt about its quality. COUNTRY REPORT - RUSSIA     

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