Welcome to the deadlock
Reconstruction of RF border checkpoint in the port of Rostov-on-Don was announced a decade ago but has not actually begun. State Control Bodies (SCB) are accommodated without any right in the building of Rostov Port JSC. The court has declared it to be illegal. The region hopes this problem will be solved on the federal level as the situation has reached a deadlock.
The attempts of Rostov Port to obtain compensation for SCB maintenance have not been supported by other stevedoring companies of the region’s capital.
RF border checkpoint was opened in 1998 which let the port welcome ships flying under foreign flags. Rostov Port JSC (at that time OJSC) was virtually the only operator at the port. Part of its building and later the entire building in the territory of the port was made available for temporary use by state control bodies.
The building is still occupied by customs and border services. Meanwhile, the number of operators and the throughput has considerably increased at the port of Rostov-on-Don which obtained the status of seaport in 2009. The Order of the Federal Agency for State Border Infrastructure Development on Reconstruction of RF Border checkpoint was signed on 27 February 2010 by Dmitry Bezdelov, the then head of the Russian Border Services Agency. The document foresees reconstruction of the checkpoint and its phase-by-phase commissioning.
Yet, nothing has actually changed over a 10-year period. Representatives of border and customs services still occupy the building in the first cargo district of Rostov Port JSC. It is Rostov Port that bears utility and communication expenses. And the company brought proceedings to acknowledge that accommodation as illegal. At its recent hearing held on 4 March 2020, the Court of Arbitration acknowledged that Rostov Port was legally right. Therefore, SCB should vacate the premises. Yet, nobody knows where they can move.
Neither building no design
A dedicated meeting involving all the stakeholders was held in March.
According to Sergey Petrunov, Deputy Director of Rosgranstroy’s Rostov branch, the issue remains with no financing allocated for reconstruction of the checkpoint in Rostov-on-Don seaport, no building or a design for its construction.
Rostov branch of Rosgranstroy has addressed the management of the new international airport in Rostov-on-Don with a request for a design they used for construction of an SCB building. Simultaneously, a plot of land is being selected for construction. Sergey Petrunov says 7,000 to 10,000 sqm are needed for a checkpoint. Ideally it is to have an access to water. The variants are expected from the Ministry of Land and Property Regulations of the Rostov Region.
Move out or stay
Rostov Port, in its turn, offers alternative solutions of the problem. In particular, the company is ready to sell the building currently occupied by SCB to Rostov branch of Rosgranstroy, the Region’s Ministry of Transport or other interested bodies. No leasing out of the premises is under consideration.
Olga Perunkova, representative of Rostov Region’s Ministry of Transport, explains that buying out of the building does not seem possible since the General Plan of Rostov-on-Don foresees transfer of port facilities to the left bank of the Don river and embankment construction in the area of the port’s first cargo district. Besides, the building does not meet the latest requirements.
Rosmorport has also asked RF Transport Ministry’s Department of State Policy for Border Check Point Development to organize border, customs and other types of control of foreign shipping vessels arriving in the port of Rostov-on-Don within the territory of Rostov Port. The stevedoring company thus counts on compensation for the building maintenance expenses.
Other stevedores operating in Rostov-on-Don seaport do not support the initiative of Rostov Port but they fail to offer any solutions.
Customs and border services are ready to leave the building. According to Sergey Petrunov, that will slow down the port operations.
Pavel Shatsky, General Director of Rostov Port JSC, emphasized that the port is not interested in suspension of SCB activities while the problem should be finally resolved in compliance with the Russian laws.
Oleg Sidorkin, representative of shipping company Donrechflot, says both stevedoring companies of Rostov-on-Don and ship owners operating in the region are concerned: longer time of port formalities will inevitably affect the economy of water transportation.
Having failed to find a solution on a local level, representatives of water transport business and Rsgranstroy suggest its escalation that it is forwarded to the State Border Commission and count on assistance of RF Transport Ministry.