• 2017 September 15

    Either pinheads or roads

    The future of the Kaliningrad Region's port sector is taking shape at last: cruise passengers, regasification terminal and container throughput growth driven by a container line between Kaliningrad and Saint-Petersburg. The risks are associated with underdeveloped approaches to the terminals, unclear economic effect from the cruise port’s activities and customs administration of traffic between the exclave and the mainland Russia.

    Plans and ambitions

    The port of Kaliningrad is demonstrating a sustainable growth this year. As Andrey Moshkov, Deputy Director of Rosmorport’s North-West Basin Branch, said at the Baltic Transport Forum in Kaliningrad, the port’s throughput is expected to grow by 7%-11% to 12.5-13 mln t in 2017. Among the key growth factors he mentioned the delivery of construction materials for Gazprom’s LNG regasification terminal and intensified assembling of automobiles by Avtotor. Besides, transshipment of coal and other cargoes is showing an increase. In January-July 2017, the number of calls grew by 47.1%, year-on-year, to 1,980 calls.

    The list of projects on expansion of port infrastructure in the region is the development of a passenger/vehicle and rail ferry terminals in Baltijsk including the construction of container terminal. The agreement between FSUE Rosmorport and Baltic Stevedoring Company LLC was signed in November 2011. Phase I of the project has been completed. The project provides for the reconstruction of Berth No 2 to increase the limit load, construction of a new ferry berth (No 3) in the northern part of the harbor for handling Ro-Ro cargoes, dredging in the water area near berths No 1 and No 3 and in the turning basin (up to the point of 10.5 m), purchase of additional berth equipment and warehousing machinery.

    The project will let increase annual capacity of the container terminal to 400,000 TEUs. BSC terminal is currently handling 53% of all containers arriving o the Kaliningrad Region. Avtotor accounts for some 60% of container transshipment at the ports of Kaliningrad and Baltijsk.

    When speaking at the Forum, BSC Director General Aleksey Pavlov said that those plans are hindered by insufficient capacity of road approaches to Baltijsk. Kaliningrad-Baltijsk highway is overloaded with vehicles as it is used for deliveries to more than 600 companies in the region. 

    Together with the Kaliningrad Railway the company is looking into rail transportation of cargoes from Baltijsk but with the construction of three rail ferries for Baltijsk – Ust-Luga line both railways and highways will be overloaded.

    According to Aleksey Pavlov, to meet this challenge it is necessary to initiate an expansion of the Federal Targeted Programme with the project on construction of a high-speed four-lane highway and an overpass at the highway/railway crossing.

    Flashlights on tourists

    However, the most ambitious project is the construction of a cruise terminal in Pionersky.

    The project is to be financed by off-budget resources (some RUB 855 mln) and through budget allocations for construction of federally owned facilities (more than RUB 7.3 bln).

    Off-budget resources will be spent mostly for construction of the terminal building and for the related infrastructure.

    According to the recent information, 8 potential investors expressed their interest in the project.

    The terminal turnover is expected to be at least 77,800 passengers and 204 vessels per year with average number of passengers onboard the largest design ships - 380 passengers. Expected cargo turnover – at least 80,000 crgo units per year. Design ships are Finncliper (length – 188.3 m, draft – 6.3 m) and La Supeba (length – 211.5 m and draught – 7.5 m).

    Initially, the project was intended for servicing passengers who will visit the World Cup 2018. It is highly questionable if this terminal is needed without that. Besides, it is not enough to build a passenger terminal, infrastructure is needed for services as well as transport communication with Kaliningrad. The city also needs to be patched up – many pavements of Kaliningrad are just dangerous for walking – you can twist your ankle.

    Thanks to Bronka

    The need for a direct container line between the Kaliningrad Region and the mainland Russia has been under discussion for a long time but it was hindered by the demand for huge investments into construction of container carriers. The decision came from the Northern Shipping Company, the ships of which will call Kaliningrad (Kaliningrad Sea Commercial Port) on their way from Antwerp to Bronka (Saint-Petersburg).

    The ships of Northern Shipping Company sail under the flag of Russia and can be deployed for coastwise shipping. As Vladimir Zarudny, Director General of Kaliningrad Region Development Corporation JSC, said at the Baltic Transport Forum in Kaliningrad, registration of a special company to operate the line, Baltic Express LLC, is scheduled for late September. The first voyage planned from Antwerp will deliver 50 forty-foot containers with general cargo to Kaliningrad. On the way back from Saint-Petersburg the ship is supposed to carry mineral fertilizers.

    Though it will be coastwise shipping, some customs procedures are inevitable - that will be necessary to confirm the goods status because of the exclave’s special economic zone and obligations to the Customs Union.

    Vitaly Chernov