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  • 2015 March 3

    Aleksei Tyukavin: “Launch of Arctic container line will become vital if fish transportation project succeeds”

    Russia is looking into organization of fish transportation from the Far East to the Murmansk Region along the Northern Sea Route and future launch of a regular container line. First Vise-Governor of the Murmansk Region Aleksei Tyukavin tells IAA PortNews about these plans.

    - Mr. Tyukavin, how reasonable is it to deliver Far East fish to Murmansk along the Northern Sea Route?

    - The delivery of fish and fish products from the Far East to the European part of Russia by the Northern Sea Route (NSR) amid embargo on import of some products from the EU introduced in August 2014 is becoming a live issue today. 

    Railway transportation of fish and fish products from the Far East to the central Russia, especially in the fishing season, is always complicated by multiple transshipments, deficit of refrigerated units and permanent growth of transportation rates. In 2014, transportation rates were RUB 11.5 per kg with the delivery taking up to two months.

    The most favorable period for NSR navigation, August-September, coincides with salmon season in Kamchatka. Transportation of fish by sea would considerably reduce the time of delivery, solve the problem of idle time typical for vessels waiting for unloading in the Far East ports amid the deficit of refrigerators and let reduce the risk of fish thawing during multiple transshipments.

    - What infrastructure is required in the Murmansk Region to handle fish delivered by the NSR?

    - Taking into consideration that Murmansk has a dedicated fishing port with proper refrigerating facilities (over 40,000 t in capacity) a logistic center for transshipment of fish and fish products is proposed for construction in Murmansk. Maximum volumes should be transported during a comparatively brief period of navigation. Refrigerator ships should operate at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky – Murmansk route. Each vessel can make at least two round voyages which is to reduce transportation costs essentially. In 2011, when first fish was delivered by the NSR to Saint-Petersburg, its delivery cost about 3 roubles per kg even with the return ballast passage. 

    - Will the need for icebreaking assistance at the NSR make this logistics too expensive?

    -  The issue of icebreaking costs was discussed at the meeting (held in late February 2015 and dedicated to arrangement of Far East fish delivery to the European part of Russia via port Murmansk -ed.). If we escape individual assistance by icebreakers we will have a real opportunity to reduce this part of expenses. Atomflot has confirmed its willingness to discuss these issues and to look for mutually acceptable solutions. 

    -  Is there a sufficient demand for fish products from the Far East?

    -  Of course, it is very important to ensure sales, therefore a decision was taken to attract large wholesale companies involved in selling of fish products.

    The next meeting is to be held in Moscow or in Kamchatka to find solutions before the summer navigation starts at the NSR.

    - What are the prospects for the launch of a container line between Murmansk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky?

    The launch of a container line betweenns Murmansk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky will become vital if fish transportation project succeeds. In 2016, Atomflot is going to put into operation its nuclear powered container ship/LASH carrier Sevmorput to considerably expand the time frame of transit transportation along the NSR. In this case, the NSR can take over cargoes supplying the Far East regions, first of all Kamchatka, which are traditionally delivered from the European part of the country by railway and then by sea. So, domestic cargo base can be formed for this route. The meeting agreed that the experts of Managing Company Murmansk Transportation Hub together with the related scientific institutions will explore the issue of cargo base.   

    Comment of Kirill Tulenev, Managing Director at Formag Liner LLC, Agent for United Arab Shipping Company:

    - The development of the Northern Sea Route ensures a strategic advantage of Russia’s transport industry in terms of national cargo flows and implementation of the country’s transit potential.

    The use of the NSR resources will provide for global changes in the foreign trade system. The launch of regular calls between Murmansk and Far East ports will optimize transit time and energy consumption of vessels as compared with cargo transportation through the Suez Canal.

    To unlock the strategic potential of the Northern Sea Route, global investments are required for the transport infrastructure so that regular calls could be arranged. 

    With the progressive development of transport infrastructure in this sector, the Northern Sea Route will be also in demand for transit cargo flows of consumer markets in Europe.


    Prepared by Nadezhda Malysheva and Vitaly Chernov