• 2017 August 28

    Two fish with one stone

    Russia’s Federal Agency for Fishery (Rosrybolovstvo) says there are about 40 pending contracts for construction of fishing ships. In the future, specialized ships like crab/mackerel/ivasi catching ships will be in special demand. It is also necessary to recover port infrastructure of fish terminals. At the same time, there too many terminals that are not dedicated but being used for coal transshipment and filling the air with dust … Is it possible to find one solution for both problems?

    Fishing fleet is bound for specialization

    As Ilya Shestakov, Head of Rosrybolovstv, said at the meeting of RF Government, there are about 40 pending contracts for construction of fishing ships and 15–20 fish processing plants including 15 ships and 10 plants to be built in the Far East. 

    All in all, investment quota mechanism is expected to be applied to construction of more than 100 ships and 20 large on-shore plants.

    Construction of specialized ships intended for catching specific bioresources are of special interest in the industry.

    In 2016, after a long period of more than 25 years, Russia resumed catching ivasi and mackerel. Last year, only 9,000 t of this fish was caught. Scientists forecast that in the nearest future (10-12 years), Russia will catch about 1 mln t of this fish.

    Actually, available fleet is not sufficient for such volumes. The fleet of Soviet times numbering 200 ships involved in catching ivasi and mackerel has shrunk to just seven ships.

    One more niche for construction of specialized ships is crab production. As of today, all crab catching ships are old vessels that underwent conversion. Their service life after modernization and repair is about 3-5 years. For the first time in Russia, domestic design company Nordic Engineering JSC has developed a design of a dedicated crab fish complying with all requirements of safe navigation. The vessel is intended for catching and freezing of crab. It is also equipped for processing and transportation of frozen goods and for transportation of live crab.  Construction costs are estimated at EUR 10-12 mln.

    The company counts on construction of a series of five vessels. The lead ship can be built within 18 months provided that the shipyard and subcontractors involved in supply of components operate as scheduled. The series can be completed within three years.

    Vitaly Gvozdev, Director General of Nordic Engineering JSC, said: “I think most of Russian shipyards are able to build this crab boat. It should be noted that the competence of our personnel also allows for construction of this ship at foreign shipyards. Yet, I think it should be built in Russia. State support measures like “underkiel quotas” bill covering small and medium capacity vessels and “utilization grants” will allow for fast and economically viable construction”.

    It’s time to gather ports

    During the post-Soviet period most of fish terminals dropped their core activities and started handling other cargoes like coal, which is especially widespread in the Far East. Now, it is time to gather stones.

    Rsrybolovstvo says that transshipment of fish via the ports of Russia exceeded 1.5 mln t in 2016. Deliveries by domestic railway grew to about 670,000 t.

    When speaking about the management of port infrastructure facilities, Ilya Shestakov said that recent years saw the development and introduction of contractual regime according to which almost all key federally owned hydraulic engineering structures are lease out. Leasing agreements include obligations on investments into capital repair and development of port infrastructure.

    There is lack of refrigerating facilities today. Their construction will let store fish in Russia, not abroad as it is done today.

    Currently, two large scale projects on construction of refrigerators are being developed for the ports of Russia’s Far East. Total capacity of the facilities is to make 60,000 t, which is about 80% of the existing refrigerating capacity in the Far East of Russia.

    The Federal Agency for Fishery is also conducting reconstruction of quay wall of the new terminal at the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The project includes new refrigerating facilities for reefer containers.

    “The key task is not only to create infrastructure for transshipment and storage of fish products but also centers for comprehensive servicing of fishing ships”, says the Agency head.

    It should be noted that parallel to the task of recovering fish terminals the state is busy with reducing environmental impact by coal terminals.

    The problem is caused by numerous non-dedicated terminals in the Far East Basin which, amid the market situation, embarked on coal transshipment without proper investments in equipment and environment protection systems. Some of them were initially intended for aquatic bioresources. Perhaps, these two tasks should be handled together through leaving coal to those stevedores who have built or are building state-of-the-art dedicated terminals with the rest focusing on handling fish, etc.? For cleaner air and for richer table.

    Sophia Vinarova