The arrangement dates back to 2007 and the development is a Chinese domestic de-regulation. The likelihood of Russia ceding Vladivostok to China is zero.
by email from a subscriber:
Q: This is interesting. So are you saying that Russian authorities had no discretion in deciding on the transshipment of the Chinese goods through Vladivostok?
A: Based on available evidence, as I explained in the post, it was a Chinese unilateral, domestic decision. Put it another way, there is no publicly available evidence suggesting Russian involvement in the decision. I don't know what Russia thinks but unless Russia wants to go against its own commercial interest (transshipment of Chinese goods through Vladivostok of course contributes to the port) and actively impedes this Chinese development, I don't think they would object to the transshipment.