• 2019 April 2

    Acute issue of fish transportation by the Northern Sea Route

    Fish transportation by the Northern Sea Route is an acute problem. The Sevmorput, nuclear-powered LASH carrier / container carrier, is currently deployed for that purpose. Some market players do not consider it reasonable with a new fleet needed as a comprehensive solution. RF Government’s Marine Board might look into this issue.

    Nuclear-powered delivery

    As it was reported earlier, modernization of nuclear-powered LASH carrier / container carrier Sevmorput built back in 1988 will be completed by 30 June 2019. As of today, the ship can carry about 200 refrigerated containers complying with ISO-40, says NSR Directorate of Rosatom Corporation. Sevmorput will arrive in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky for loading on August 1. A dedicated working group offers to plan at least two voyages to carry fish along the Northern Sea Route this year. 

    In the nearest time, FSUE Atomflot, a company of Rosatom Corporation will inform on the cost of the service. Fishing companies are to inform the working group on the amount of fish planned for transportation. 

    When speaking at the meeting of the working group on arranging a shipping line for transportation of fish products from the Far East to the central part of Russia by the Northern Sea Route, Peotr Savchuk, deputy head of Rosrybolovstvo (Russian Federal Fisheries Agency), said that “the plan of activities is to be completed by March 30. Our colleagues from Atomflot will submit a proposal on pricing. Cargo turnover is to be discussed with fishing companies by April 15”.

    As of today, the ‘Seroglazka’ terminal in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is considered as the main loading point with Arkhangelsk and Ust-Luga planned as the point of delivery. The project on fish transportation by the Northern Sea Route has been backed by the Marine Board of RF Government. 

    In 2018, large batches of Pacific salmons was delivered from the Far East by the Northern Sea Route by Dobroflot and Norebo. The working group was set up to develop this activity. 

    The catch of Pacific salmons in the Far East of Russia recommended for 2019 is 461,000 tonnes, 30% more as compared with the catch of 2017 (351,000 tonnes). The salmon fishing season in the Far East begins on June 1 and lasts till November.

    Construction of fishing ships

    Meanwhile, Marine Board of RF Government might consider an alternative for transportation of fish products from the Far East to the European part of Russia by the Northern Sea Route, Victor Kot, BoD member of YugTransFlot JSC, said at the 3-rd International Conference ShippingRu 2019 in Moscow.

    A source in the Marine Board confirms the colleagues’ awareness of the project.

    The proposal foresees inclusion of Arc4-Arc7 ships with a capacity of 200-300 reefer containers into a related federal targeted programme.

    As Victor Kot told IAA PortNews, six ships of this type are required to deliver fish products from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Murmansk and other ports, where they can be loaded with cargo under Northern Delivery programme. Estimated cost of fish transportation by this route is about RUB 5.2 per kilogram while the cost of transportation by the southern route is estimated by the company at RUB 17 per kilogram. During summer navigation season such ships can sail without icebreaker assistance.

    Rosrybolovstvo told IAA PortNews that, according to their information, transportation of fish products from Vladivostok to Moscow by railway in the high season of 2018 cost RUB 15.5 per kilogram. Cost of delivery by the Northern Sea Route was as high as RUB 11 per kilogram. 

    The source told IAA PortNews that deployment of Sevmorput for fish transportation is not an optimal solution since this ship is too large (total capacity – 1,336 TEUs) while the Arctic ports have no sufficient refrigerated facilities to meet its capacity. Therefore, fish transportation by this ship is not viable.

    It should be noted that Sevmorput is also involved in cargo transportation for Arctic projects. 

    We would like to add that domestic shipbuilding industry needs a guaranteed serial order and construction of six container carriers would contribute to its development. It is financing that is essential and it can be attracted on a repayable basis, for example, through implementation of the state leasing programme.

    Vitaly Chernov