Sergey Chelyadin: “The potential we were speaking about some 10-12 years ago has been reached by today”
Sergey Chelyadin, head of Sea Port of Saint-Petersburg in 2005-2009, has returned to the port industry as Managing Director of Multipurpose Reloading Complex (MRC LLC, port Ust-Luga). In his interview with IAA PortNews, Sergey Chelyadin shares his opinion on how the seaports changed during his absence and on prospects of the stevedoring companies.
- Mr Chelyadin, how do you find the port industry after a 6-year period?
- Sea terminals of Russia have been intensely developing. The industry businesses and management have made a great leap forward recently. It's safe to say that the potential we were speaking about some 10-12 years ago has been reached by today. There are new port facilities, new technologies have been introduced for cargo transshipment, Russian ports show a strong and positive momentum.
Of course, the changes are seen in the market of container and Ro-Ro shipping. In my opinion, a lot depends on the heads of sea terminals today, their prompt response to any slight change in the market.
Besides, I’m sure that the production potential of the ports in the Gulf of Finland will be probably reached within the coming 5-7 years. Investments into new port facilities will be returned.
- What is your opinion about port Bronka?
- Infrastructure projects feature a long period of implementation. Of course, when the idea came out to build this port the authors were focused on refrigerated cargo, hence the port configuration. There are problems with this sort of cargo today. But it is just for the present.
This port will be in demand anyway.
- MRC is handling coal. It is somewhat different from your previous activities at the Seaport of Saint-Petersburg?
- I would remind that the Sea Port of Saint-Petersburg once was handling coal in its Forth District. The managing company acquired Ust-Luga assets in order to shift environmentally unfriendly cargo out of Saint-Petersburg.
In 2015 MRC handled 4.2 mln t of cargo, mostly export coal – it is a success.
In 2016 we are going not only to retain this level nut also increase the volume of import manganese ore from 120,000 t in 2015 to 300,000 t this year…. Export is represented by coal alone. We have a long-term contract with SUEK, our good partner.
- What is the role of MRC amid the development of other ports in the North-West region? What are your perspective advantages?
- Our port has quite strong advantages including well developed railway approaches, sufficient depth, quite favorable climate conditions allowing for round-the-year shipments almost without icebreaking assistance.
Engaged mostly in coal transshipment today we are certainly looking into cargo substitution in the future. However, we have no realistic assumptions in respect of our key customer today.
In my opinion, major cargo owners should not always acquire their own port assets. Safe transshipment and shipping can also be ensured through other ways, with attraction of third-party companies. Sometimes it is more efficient.
- Owners of coal terminals invest a lot into improvement of environment and technological processes. What does MRC do in this respect?
- Of course, we have such programmes. It should be clear that UCL Holding is building new terminal complying with the latest environmental requirements which is true for MRC. The project, construction solutions and technologies provide for creation of production lines to meet current environmental standards. Our terminal has a dust collecting system, a system of waste water treatment and a sprinkling system.
As for sophisticated technological solutions like those for wagon dumpers and defrosters, I would like to emphasize that the name of our terminal suggests its versatility. It is intended not only for coal transshipment, it can handle other general cargo.
Specialized coal terminals are automated through application of field-specific technologies tailored for transshipment of coal with the use of costly equipment.
We have a conventional and simple coal discharge scheme. It satisfies our customers and allows for prompt response to the market.
- Is there a programme for further development of MRC?
- Of course, we have a plan for the development of the terminal and a range of our services here.
We have completed yet another phase of MRC project allowing for annual transshipment of 4.5 mln t of cargo. The next phase is 6 mln t per year. I think this project can be implemented in 2-3 years.
Interviewed by Nadezhda Malysheva.