Russia is working on setting up a direct marine shipping line to Syria, reported Russia’s TASS news agency on Tuesday.
It also wants its companies to help build an economic recovery in the war-torn country, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced.
The report did not specify what a direct shipping line would entail, but any increase in agricultural and other supplies from Russia or help in reviving exports would be a boost for Syrian regime head Bashar al-Assad.
Russia, one of the largest wheat exporters in the world, has been backing Assad in the long-running civil war in Syria and has previously helped his government with wheat aid, reported Reuters.
“A direct shipping line between Russian and Syrian ports is being established,” Rogozin, in charge of the military industrial complex, told a meeting of a Russian-Syrian commission on trade cooperation, according to the agency.
Agricultural goods are currently transported by a company called Oboronlogistika, which is “interested in expanding its services,” he said.
Oboronlogistika says on its website it acts under the jurisdiction of Russia’s defense ministry, organizing cargo transportation, customs clearance and warehouse services.
Trade between Russia and Syria rose by 42 percent year-on-year to $193 million in the first seven months of 2017, according to Rogozin. However, Syria’s exports to Russia only amounted to $2 million in the period.