‘Platon’ system for ships
RF Transport Ministry has drafted regulations to introduce investment duties at seaports. According to the project initiator, those charges are to be invested in creation and development of federally owned facilities at seaports. Meanwhile, there are concerns about a possible negative impact on the attractiveness of Russian ports.
Scylla of investments and Charybdis of competitiveness
The federal portal for legal information has recently published a draft procedure for assessment of investment port duty collected at the ports of the Russian Federation and draft amendments into the Order of RF Transport Ministry dated 31 October 2012 (No 387) “On approving the list of port duties collected at the ports of the Russian Federation”. The latter document is to come into effect on 1 November 2017.
The documents introduce a concept of an investment duty which is to be imposed on vessels calling the seaports of the Russian Federation under the flags of foreign countries and Russia. The collected duties are to be used for financial of investment programmes focused on the creation and development of federally owned facilities at seaports.
According to the draft procedure, the port duty is to be set up by the Ministry of Transport for one year and a planned period of two years in respect of a specific business unit making capital investments into construction or/and reconstruction of a seaport infrastructure facility, either federally owned or held with the right of economic management, unless otherwise stipulated by a concession agreement. The duties with the fixed rate will be collected by the business units.
The rates will be set up for overseas ships, both Russian and foreign dry cargo/liquid bulk ships excluding Ro-Ro ships and pontoons. They are also foreseen for passenger ships and ferries making foreign voyages if they are include into an ad hoc programme.
It should be noted that Russia lacks dedicated deepwater terminals for certain types of cargo. The list of such cargo is not very long. It mainly includes mineral fertilizers, iron ore and coal. At the same, there are extensive facilities for handling of containers and automobiles. In this context, the use of investment duty should be well-thought-out to facilitate the development of insufficient facilities rather than aggravate the situation with excessive facilities and reduce the competitiveness of Russian ports as compared with neighboring states. Besides, exports asked by IAA PortNews, say that introduction of investment duties can also increase the final value of exported goods which will also have a negative impact on competitiveness of domestic products in the global market. Therefore, implications of such duties are difficult to estimate today since they will depend on the rates at specific ports. The assessment will be possible only the next year.