Russian mining and metals company Mechel has purchased 55% stake in Vanino Sea Trade Port for RUB15.5bn ($512m) in a bid to improve coal exports and reduce transportation costs.

Mechel bought the controlling stake in Vanino from the Russian government through its logistics subsidiary Mecheltrans.

Vanino port is considered to be the largest transport hub in the Khabarovsk region and one of the ten largest ports in the country, with a cargo turnover totalling 6 million tonnes in 2012.

The port handles cargo bound to Russia’s north-east, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia and the US. It is located about 1,500km away from the firm’s Yakutia coal assets.

Mechel CEO Evgeny Mikhel said that by gaining access to Port Vanino’s transhipment capacities, the company can boost its export volumes to Asia Pacific.

"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 minimize our dependency on transport markets," Mikhel added.