• 2014 July 15

    On the construction of dry cargo area in the port of Taman

    Construction of dry cargo area in the sea port of Taman is a long-awaited project, and there is no viable alternative to that in the current economic and geopolitical realities.

    Seaport is an inherent part of world trade. Export and import potential of any country or region can not be implemented unless there is an essential element of the transport infrastructure available. Conversely, the creation of a seaport can be a catalyst not only for the growth of international trade, but also for the development of industry on adjacent territories. But assuming its adequacy to requirements on the port's scale, location and the time of its creation.

    Compliance with these requirements can turn a small village with a fishing pier into the world busiest cargo hub, as in the case of Singapore or Felixstowe; and incompetent development policy can throw the most famous port on the sidelines of progress and turn it into a collection of museum objects, such as ports of London or Liverpool.

    Huge investments make the problem more complicated: the creation of a seaport for handling a million of containers, will entail investments in the range $ 450 million to $ 500 million. Seaborne cargo transportation is actually not cheap business: a Panamax container carrier (dozens of them could call at such port), cost about $ 100 million. Obviously, the capitalization of ports and shipping companies are quite comparable.

    But if the ship emerges on the market untimely, or was designed with incorrect commercial profile can be redeployed to operate on another direction, can be chartered out, handed over to another operator or, in the worst case, just scrapped, no one succeeded ever in relocation of the port on the other coast, or in its disposal as a junk. An error made in the design of the port can not be corrected or even partially compensated: the winner takes it all, the loser standing small.

    As a result, large-scale projects of building seaports are always under scrutiny of transport community, regardless of pattern of ownership or management: their impact is too important for the landscape of the entire industry.
    The above mentioned fully applies to one of the most ambitious and significant, large-scale, etc. projects in Russia's recent history - the project of construction of a Dry Cargo Area in seaport of Taman.

    Dry cargo area in seaport of Taman

    The Black Sea based ports are handling largely crude oil and petroleum products, with dry cargo accounting for 36% of total throughput, or 63.6 million tonnes. The Black Sea basin ports of Russia form seaborne containerized and dry bulk flows on the Azov-Black Sea direction. According to the conservative scenario of development strategy of seaport infrastructure of Russia until 2030 the need for port facilities of the Azov-Black Sea basin will increase to 151.2 million tonnes of dry cargo per year.

    To increase the transport and logistics capacity of the Azov-Black Sea basin and for the development of foreign trade it was decided to create a new deepwater dry cargo port in Taman.

    Capacity of the dry cargo area in the seaport of Taman is expected to reach 93.8 million tonnes of cargo by 2020. That is several times higher than the capacity of the existing infrastructure in the region, designed for dry cargoes. Active growth of production and the need for export of major Russian manufacturers of steel, grain, coal, sulfur, iron ore concentrates and fertilizers also necessitated the increase of port capacity of the southern region. The project includes infrastructure development, of railways and roads, which will provide a seamless import / export of goods from the new port area and distribution to the main regions.

    Under the order of the Federal State Institution "Rostransmodernizatsiya" in accordance with the Federal Target Program "Development of Transport System of Russia (2010-2015)" OJSC Lenmorniiproekt has completed project documentation for Dry Cargo Area in seaport of Taman. In May 2014 the project documentation was approved by the state expert appraisal.

    The port in Taman appears to be the first major specialized port that will be built in the 21st century in the Russian Federation.

    Under this project, the dry bulk port will have 10 terminals for handling various cargoes. Total length of quay wall for receiving river and sea-going vessels will be in excess of 8100 meters.

    Construction of the port is to begin in 2014 with dredging of the harbour and access canals, more than 10 kilometers in length. The canal width will be 170 m. Depth - 19.6 m. This will give 17.5m draft vessels access to berths. The port total area will encompass 860 hectares, including the newly formed artificial territory of about 300 hectares. The design of breakwater structures will allow safe handling of vessels year-round. This project will be implemented on a public-private partnership. A significant portion of the project cost will be covered by the state. The government will fund the construction of access canals, forming of the waters area, construction of breakwaters, piers, roads and railways, a port railway station, engineering infrastructure. Total project cost is estimated at RUB 228 billion. For the construction of new port facilities in Taman port the government appropriated RUB 76 billion in the Federal Target Program "Development of Transport System of Russia (2010-2015)". The construction of facilities of private investors is valued at 152 billion rubles.

    Cost allocation

    There have been a lot of opinions recently in the media that the existing ports (Sevastopol, Yalta, Evpatoria, Feodosia, Kerch) on the territory of now the Russian Crimea could be an alternative to the Taman dry cargo port. This alternative was not considered when the project was developed. Some authors of polemical articles named these ports deep and slightly exaggerated their capacity. The Crimean ports do exist and no one is arguing over the fact. At the same time, it would be wrong to estimate these ports capacity at 90 million tonnes of cargo. This is not professional. The construction of a new, deep-water port in the Crimea (Sevastopol, Bay Donuzlav, Lake Tobechik) is not the best solution as well. It seems inappropriate for the following reasons:
    • Isolated, "insular" position of such port from the territory where cargo flow is generated is favorable for a 'hub' port, which specializes primarily in transshipment of cargoes between the liner and small feeder ships. For a transit export / import 'gateway' port such position is a significant drawback.

    • Even a slight extension of shipment distance will have a tangibly negative economic effect for large volumes of traffic. The same result will be with the costs associated with the design, construction and operation of the bridge crossing, of much higher capacity than the current needs of the Black Sea fleet, of the community and recreational areas.

    • Lack of energy and water resources necessary for the construction and operation of a major port, a significant increase in duration of the project implementation due to the need for a full cycle of design and survey works in the earthquake-prone region.

    It is clear why, for example, hypothetical investors from overseas territories need the 'hub' port in the Black Sea, since this port type allows economic expansion in this overseas (our native) territory in the Black Sea basin. Do we need such a port? The issue is not clear, to be exact - the answer is not clear.

    Summarizing, we can conclude that the construction of dry cargo port of Taman is a demanded project, which does not have a viable alternative in the current economic and geopolitical realities.

    Alexander L. Kuznetsov, Professor, Department of Ports, Cargo Terminals, Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping