January 16 - One of Russia's leading mining and metal companies Mechel OAO has acquired a 55 percent controlling stake in Vanino Sea Trade Port OAO in a deal reportedly worth RUB15.5 billion (USD510.1 million).

Port Vanino - located in the Vanina Bay, Strait of Tartary - links the Sea of Okhotsk with the Sea of Japan; it is the largest transport hub in the Khabarovsk region and one of Russia's ten largest ports.

In 2012 the gateway handled approximately 6 million tonnes of cargo.

Vanino predominantly handles shipments bound for Russia's northeast, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, the United States and other Pacific states.

Mechel commented that the acquisition was made in order to support its export capabilities and reduce transport costs in line with a planned increase in its coal mining volumes in the region.

According to Evgeny Mikhel, ceo at Mechel OAO: "By gaining access to Port Vanino's transhipment capacities, Mechel significantly expands its export capacities to Asia Pacific.

"Port Vanino is located only some 1,500 km away from the company's Yakutia coal assets. Port Vanino's operations will indisputably improve our ability to manage the logistics of our deliveries, expand the range of our exports due to greater storage capacity and minimise our dependency on transport markets."