Deep sea ports in Russia are set to increase their handling fees from October amid huge crop estimates, sources told AgriCensus on 20 August.

The NZT, NKHP and KSK terminals – the largest in the Novorossiysk export hub on the Russian Black Sea – would be increasing their grain elevation costs by US$3/tonne starting from 1 October, according to traders and industry sources.

Confirmation was not provided from the terminals by time of publication, AgriCensus said.

An increase of this size would add about 20% to the current trans-shipment rate that averaged US$15-16/tonne but varied depending on the company or terminal, according to AgriCensus.

Terminals were anticipating a potential increase in grain shipments given higher crop outlooks with an opportunity to boost profit margins, sources said.

This was already evident in export prices. For October loading, offers had jumped to US$208/tonne which was an increase of at least US$3-4/tonne on offers for September loading.

“But demand is very low – there are no offers due to [expectations about a forthcoming] port costs announcement increase in Russia,” one trader was quoted as saying.

“The market is trying to show higher prices today due to these +US$3/tonne port costs, but no one is paying.”

Russia had planted its largest ever wheat area this year, AgriCensus said, which had prompted local agencies to raise their estimates for the total crop in recent weeks. The highest was from IKAR, which had forecast production of 82M tonnes.