• 2016 March 1

    Deep-seated truth

    Port infrastructure is being intensely developed in Russia. Draught Strategy for the Development of Seaports Infrastructure till 2030 implies more dredging, also in Arctic conditions. Prospects of Russia’s dredging industry and import substitution were discussed by the participants of the 3rd International Forum of Dredging Companies organized by Media-Group PortNews. The Forum also saw the achievement of some agreements and signing of contracts significant for the industry.

    Seabed horizons

    Port infrastructure in Russia is developing intensely despite unfavorable economic and geopolitical situation. Russia still needs deepwater ports in view of global trends towards using vessels of larger tonnage. Without building such ports and without maintaining design depth at the existing harbors domestic ports will lose their competitiveness.

    As a rule, large scale port projects in Russia are implemented through cooperation of private investors with the state in the name of FSUE Rosmorport which ensures dredging of water areas and access channels. As Andrei Lavrishchev, Executive Director of Rosmorport, told at the Forum, the Company is currently revising the Strategy for the Development of Seaports Infrastructure till 2030 together with McKinsey, consulting firm well known around the world. The work on long-term investment programme of Rosmorport, on which the Strategy is based, is to be completed in April-May 2016. The Strategy is expected by autumn 2016. Then it will be considered by Russian Government. When approved by the Government it will become an official document setting the priorities in the port industry.

    According to Andrei Lavrishchev, the Strategy provides for the development of port infrastructure ain all basins of the Russian Federation.

    The plans on the development of port infrastructure in the Baltic and Arctic basins provide for the development of port Bronka in Saint-Petersburg, construction of two terminals in Ust-Luga for transshipment of mineral fertilizers (Eurochem and BTU), reconstruction of container terminal in Baltijsk and construction of passenger terminal in Pionersk (Kaliningrad Region, the year of 2016 is to see the end of designing and the beginning of construction), completion of Sabetta port construction on the Yamal peninsula and comprehensive development of Murmansk Transportation Hub.     

    The projects in the Azov-Black Sea basin include the creation of Taman seaport dry-cargo area (first phase for annual transshipment of 40 mln t of coal, mineral fertilizers, grain and general cargo with a prospect to boost throughput to 100 mln t per year). There is also a plan to develop port infrastructure of Novorossiysk seaport and Delo Group’s terminals (if cargo base is confirmed the mentioned terminals are to increase transshipment by 20 mln t per year). Besides, OTEKO terminal for transshipment of 10 mln t of dry bulk cargo can be built in the Azov-Black Sea basin. The capacity of OTEKO terminal can be later increased to 35 mln t per year. Rosmorport is also designing a cargo and passenger terminal at port Gelendzhik and looking into construction of an ammonia terminal at port Taman. 

    Major projects on port infrastructure development in the Far East basin include the construction of coal terminal’s Phase 3 at port Vostochny (Vostochny Port), Daltransugol project at port Vanino (up to 24 mln t per year), construction of coal terminal Sakha-Trans at Muchke Bay (10 mln t per year with a possibility to expand the capacity to 24 mln t per year), construction of coal terminal UPK Sever. This year Rosmorport is going to commence reconstruction of ferry terminals at Vanino and Kholmsk ports. Major terminals for development in Sakhalin are coal terminal in Shakhtersk and passenger terminal at port Korsakov. In Kamchatka, container and passenger terminal at Cape Signalny is to be built under the project on priority development.

    The scope of dredging works in Sabetta makes 68.6 mln cbm in 2014-2017, Bronka – 10.4 mln cbm in 2014-17, Kaliningrad – 1.5 mln cbm, Vanino (coal terminal at Muchke Bay) – 1.5 mln cbm in 2017-19, Sukhodol - 7 mln cbm in 2017-21, Kozmino – 0.32 mln cbm in 2015-16, Taman – 45.4 mln cbm in 2017-30.

    Rosmorport is also expanding its own dredging fleet. Andrei Lavrishchev says the Company will get 4 new dredgers this year. This will let Rosmorport execute up to 60% of maintenance dredging with its own resources without subcontracting. It is 1.5-2 times more efficient for Rosmorport to use its own dredging fleet instead of the subcontractors’ fleet. As of today, the Company’s fleet numbers over 20 vessels.

    In 2016 Rosmorport is going to dredge 23.8 mln cbm of material. The scope of dredging works for construction of new facilities is to make 11.8 mln cbm of material, maintenance dredging - 12 mln cbm. The scope of maintenance dredging performed with the Company’s own resources is to make 6.1 mln cbm against 4.3 mln cbm in 2015.

    Development of regulatory and legal framework will also facilitate implementation of dredging projects. According to Nadezhda Zhikhareva, Deputy Director of Transport Ministry’s Department of State Policy for Maritime and River Transport, the Order of the Ministry which is to come into force in August 2016 will set forth the procedure for holding a closed auction to sign preliminary agreement on supplies of bottom soil dredged during construction of facilities within inland waters and territorial sea of the Russian Federation.

    A country of unique projects

    Despite the development of domestic dredging industry ambitious infrastructure projects cannot but need participation of companies known worldwide. As of today, Russian market sees almost all global brands of the industry: Jan De Nul, Boskalis, IDRECO, Dredge Yard, Van Oord, CCCC as well as related shipbuilding and engineering companies: BLRT Grupp, Neptune Shipyards, Nonius Engineering, Damen, Hydromec, Fertoing, Coralina Engeenering, IHC.

    Port Sabetta on the Yamal peninsula is the largest dredging project and also a unique one due to extreme climate conditions. An enormous work has been done there over the last four years. In 2012-13, a technological channel was built there with the depth of -12.4 meters and the water area of the port for delivery of materials and equipment needed for construction of an LNG plant and a sea terminal intended for LNG transshipment. The scope of dredging works done in 2014 totaled 22.4 mln cbm (including 19.1 mln cbm dredged at the sea channel and 3.3 mln cbm dredged at the port’s water area). In 2015, dredging amounted to 12.5 mln cbm including 7.6 mln cbm dredged at the sea channel, 1.8 mln cbm dredged at the access channel and 3.1 mln cbm dredged at the port’s water area. This year is to see the completion of works under Phase I of the access channel and the port’s water area, the year of 2017 - complete development of the access and sea channels. Total scope of dredging at port Sabetta in 2014-2017 is estimated at 68.6 mln cbm.

    As mentioned earlier, extreme climate conditions make Sabetta project a unique one. Experts say that dredging of permafrost soil in 2015 totaled 1.5 mln cbm which is a world record.

    As Forum participants learned from Alexander Ivanyuk, Technical Director of Mordraga LLC, which is in charge of dredging at port Sabetta, the year of 2016 is to see dredging at the port’s water area up to -15.2 meters (Baltic System 77)and at the access channel up to -15.1 meters (Baltic System 77). The year of 2017 will see the completion of the second phase of the sea channel (up to 295 meters wide) and the access channel (up to 495 meters wide). 

    According to Artem Melnikov, Director of Fertoing Ltd.(one of Sabetta project contractors), federal facilities of port Sabetta will be completed according to the schedule.

    Construction of Multipurpose Sea Cargo Complex Bronka (MSCC Bronka) in Saint-Petersburg is also among the largest projects. Access channel of MSCC Bronka consists of two straight parts. The point of turn and conjunction is to be widened. Radius of the channel turns is 945 meters, widening zone – 36 m. The dimensions of the port water area (width of operational area and the turning basin area) are defined in view of mooring operations and the turn of the largest expected vessel assisted by a tugboat.

    Dredging activities were started there in 2013. Phase I of the access channel and the water area was completed in 2015. Last year the works were performed by CCCC (China) which mobilized the fleet from five countries (due to a long distance from China). Chinese ships executed one third of all dredging works. Operations were complicated with the existence of numerous underwater utility lines of a large city. According to Bronka representative, CCCC managed to fulfill all the tasks though Russia is a new market for the company. Total scope of works amounted to some 10 mln cbm. At the Forum port Bronka signed an agreement on dredging works in 2016 with Boskalis. The company has a many years' experience of working in Russia.

    One more example of dredging in Russia is works done by Van Oord at the Caspian Sea. As Anko Bos, Regional Manager at Van Oord told the Forum, operation at the Caspian Sea was associated with finding non-obvious logistic solutions due to isolated position of the Caspian Sea. The vessels mobilized for operations had to pass by inland water ways with tight restrictions on vessels’ size and draught. When delivering a trailing suction hopper dredger in 2012 they had to dismantle a deck-house to sail under the bridges and then to install it again in Astrakhan. A floating crane was also delivered in parts and assembled later. Besides, a special route was developed to transport dredgers’ modules (18-35 t each) both by water and by land via Saint-Petersburg, Moscow and Astrakhan.

    Reaching the seabed with new technologies

    Stefan Bruggeman, Project Manager at Jan De Nul, told the Forum about new dredging technologies applied when implementing the project on Suez Canal deepening. According to him, the performance of 1 mln cbm per day was achieved with the use of newbuilds like the Ibn Battuta able to dredge harder soil with higher pulp density: more than 1.5 t per cbm in continuous operation.

    The Forum participants were speaking about dredging projects in different countries worldwide. Alexander Chmyrev, Coralina Engeenering, told about the development of port facilities at the Port of New Orleans (USA). 24” dredger with a submersible pump was used under the project.  The working component of the 453-tonne dredger is 30 meters long allowing for operations at the depth of up to 18 meters below the water level. Dredging at the port and at the Mississippi delta was performed under conditions of flow speed of up to 8 knots.

    When speaking about new technologies in the dredging industry we cannot pass over the trend towards using alternative fuel for dredging fleet. Hans Hesen, Regional Director (Russia) at Royal IHC, said Royal IHC would build Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger operating on LNG. According to Hans Hesen, LNG is economically a good alternative to conventional fuels. He also emphasizes the need for practical testing of this technology. With its gas resources Russia has a good potential for using such vessels.

    René Sens, Design & Proposal Engineer at Damen, told the Forum about the trends in construction of dredging fleet. Particularly, he marked the efficiency of using modular technologies in construction of dredgers. The technology was tested for transportation of dredgers to the Caspian Sea (as we wrote before). He also told about construction of a trailing suction hopper dredger for FSUE Rosmorport with application of the latest technologies.

    Basel Yousef, General Director at Dredge Yard Netherlands, UAE and Turkey, believes it is promising to build multi-purpose dredgers. The company is going to built a basic model for further orders.

    Meanwhile, Technical Director of Nonius Engineering Ltd. Mikhail Chemodanov said at the Forum that dredging technologies of the future would be based on robotization and intellectualization. According to him, the future will see robotizaion of dredgers and barges as well as production of small size measuring robots (there are examples of their application). Besides, the expert says there is a trend towards integration of operational units into information systems. 

    Mikhail Chemodanov believes that Russia can close the technological gap in this industry through cooperation of state authorities with dedicated private organisations.

    Environment protection is among the key aspects of large scale projects. As Rene Kolman, Secretary General of the International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC), said at the Forum, it is important to let the society know that competent dredging and application of state-of-the-art technologies and experience not only safe from environmental point of view but also improve the environment. As an example Rene Kolman told about the project in the Netherlands when swampy area was turned into a woodland which had a positive impact on local flora and fauna. Rene Kolman also invited Russian companies to join the IADC.

    East of West - domestic production is best

    It is well known that Russian economy is badly in need of diversification and import substitution. This is also true for dredging. According to Daniil Garbuz, Chairman of Hydromec BoD, domestic companies can satisfy the demand for dredging fleet provided that market situation and state policy is favorable.

    In his turn, Sergei Milushkin, Director General of Special Economic Zone Lotus PJSC (Astrakhan Region) called on the interested companies, including foreign ones, establish their production facilities in Russia.

    He reminded that they would be provided with significant tax and customs privileges within the framework of the special economic zone and their products would be considered as of Russian origin. During the Forum Lotus PJSC held negotiations on cooperation with a number of companies including Hydromec, Royal IHC (IHC), DE DONGE SHIPBUILDING, ZPMC LLC. Read more about SEZ Lotus >>>>

    So, the Forum of Dredging Companies annually held by Media-Group PortNews is a platform not only for sharing the experience and for promotion of new technologies in the field of dredging but also for attracting investors to Russian jurisdiction for establishment of local facilities under import substitution programme. 

    Vitaly Chernov