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  • 2020 October 23

    Nikolay Nesterov, Harbour Master of Arkhangelsk Port: “We are keeping maritime traditions of the region”

    Arkhangelsk, Russia’s first seaport established in the end the 16th century, is the pivotal hub today for supplies of the Arctic territories and the Northern Sea Route. In the first 8 months of the year, the port increased its throughput by 14.8%, year-on-year, that put Arkhangelsk among the top three ports of Russia in terms of growth rates. In his interview with IAA PortNews, Harbour Master of Arkhangelsk Port Nikolay Nesterov tells about the driving forces behind the port’s achievements in the current situation.

    - Mr Nesterov, what was the driving forces behind the throughput growth of Arkhangelsk port? Tell about the port’s participation in the Arctic shipping projects, Northern Delivery: cargo types and volumes.

    - The year of 2020 has seen the beginning of active construction of the Utrenny terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and stable gas condensate in the Gulf of Ob of the Kara Sea, continuation of deliveries to Pevek port, further development of the Bovanenkovskoye oil and gas condensate field in the Baidaratskaya Bay of the Kara Sea, progress in the development of the Pavlovskoye field on the Novaya Zemlya, which contributed to the increase of cargo traffic via the port of Arkhangelsk.  

    From the beginning of the year, seaborne throughput of the port has totaled 2,650,000 tonnes including 1,056,000 tonnes of oil products, 400,000 tonnes of timber, which is a traditional type of cargo for Arkhangelsk, and 1 million tonnes of general cargo.

    The port of Arkhangelsk plays a crucial role in the development of the Arctic coast areas. For the needs of the Arctic region, Arkhangelsk handles general cargo, equipment and sand. The so called Northern Delivery to remote territories of the Barents Sea, the White Sea and the Baidaratskaya Bay of the Kara Sea runs via Arkhangelsk. Fuel, coal, construction materials and consumer goods are delivered to port points of the White, Barents and Kara seas over a recently short navigation period.


    From the beginning of the year, seaborne throughput of the port has totaled 2,650,000 tonnes”


    - How did the pandemic affect the port activities?   

    - From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic the Harbour Master’s Office of Arkhangelsk was acting with respect of the instructions given by the President of the Russian Federation, the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency,  Administration of West Arctic Seaports and Arkhangelsk Region Governor. Organization of the operational process was adjusted, special means for prevention of coronavirus spread were purchased and distributed among the employees and the visitors, frequency of cleaning and disinfection operations was increased and testing of the personnel was arranged.

    All the bodies and departments continued operation including the Certification and SID departments. From the beginning of the pandemic in early April to the beginning of September the Certification Department issued 614 qualification documents while SID Department issued 354 SIDs and 32 seaman's books. Ship Registration Department continued its normal operation.

    The pandemic did not affect the activities of the port.  Its throughput increased, year-on-year. Vessels were handled without delays. The sanitary and epidemiological situation onboard the ships is under a permanent monitoring as required by Rospotrebnadzor.

    - What are the companies providing towing and bunkering services in the port? Has there been any deficit of low-sulphur fuel from the beginning of 2020?

    - Towing services during mooring operations in the port of Arkhangelsk are provided by Portoflot, Belfreight and Northern Shipping Company.

    Marine bunkering is offered by Ecotech, Belfreight, Severneftegazflot and Northern River Shipping Company. Most of the Northern Delivery cargoes are transported by ATB units.

    As for towing along the Northern Sea Route, a good account of themselves was given by icebreakers of Rosmorport’s Arkhangelsk Branch: Dickson, Kapitan Chadayev, Kapitan Kosolapov and Kapitan Yevdokimov.

    Towing services on inland water ways are provided by Arkhangelsk River Fleet, White Sea Boom Company and Nord-Wood.

    Bunkering of ships in the port of Arkhangelsk is conducted by Gazpromneft Marine Bunker, RN-Bunker, Nord-Flot, NK-Flot and Bunkering Company.

    The quality of fuel for bunkering is permanently monitored for compliance with MARPOL requirements. In case of any doubts, test samples are taken to determine sulphur percentage in marine fuel. And there has been no deficit of low-sulphur fuel this year.


    “The quality of fuel for bunkering is permanently monitored for compliance with MARPOL requirements”


     - Are there any hydraulic engineering or dredging works underway in the port?

    - Every year in summer, maintenance dredging is conducted in the water area of Arkhangelsk seaport to ensure required depth in the navigable channel and near the berths. Depth measurements are regular with information promptly provided to all those interested in it. Reconstruction of the Sedov embankment is underway in Solombala.

    - The navigation season of 2020 saw a disruption of the global cruise market. What companies used to provide agency services for cruise ships in Arkhangelsk before?

    - Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancel of cruise calls in Arkhangelsk planned for the navigation season of 2020. The calls of SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR and NAUTICA had been planned. The general agent of cruise ships in Arkhangelsk is INFLOT Worldwide, agency services in the port used to be provided by Arkhangelsk based Belomortrans and Belfreight. We hope that cruise ships will visit our port in the navigation season of 2021. In 2020, the port of Arkhangelsk was visited six times by M/V Rus Velikaya with Russian tourists onboard.

    - What measures are considered to fight the crisis next year in the part of cruise calls in the water area of the Severnaya Dvina river?

    - The calls of cruise ships in Arkhangelsk in the navigation season of 2021 will primarily depend on the global epidemiological situation related to the coronavirus pandemic. As of today, it is difficult to forecast. The seaport of Arkhangelsk and its infrastructure are ready to accept such vessels and the city will welcome the tourists who will certainly appreciate the beauty and the sights of Russia’s North. We have developed and submitted an appeal to the Arkhangelsk Region Government and the General Agent regarding the need of proactive approach to organization of the planned calls, compliance with requirements and execution of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection that should be undertaken before and upon the call of ships for passengers’ unhindered disembarking and sightseeing.

    - Does the infrastructure of passenger terminals and the Economia port meet the Transport Security Law of 2007 in the part of servicing foreign cruise ships?

    - Berth infrastructure of the marine and river terminals fully complies with the requirements for welcoming foreign cruise ships of Silver Cloud type with length of up to 155 meters and draft not exceeding 6.5 meters. Infrastructure of the Economia berths is compliant for handling larger cruise ships, up to 190 meters in length and up to 9.2 meters in draft. However, preliminary approval of docking is to be obtained from the berth operator.

    - What is your opinion about the project on construction of a deep-water port in the Gulf of Dvina of the White Sea?

    - The key target of the project on construction of a deep-water district in the seaport of Arkhangelsk is to facilitate the social and economic development of the Arkhangelsk Region through addressing infrastructure constraints in the port of Arkhangelsk, expansion of transport infrastructure in the North-West Region and the Arctic zones of the Russian Federation.

    Implementation of the project on construction of a deep-water district in the port of Arkhangelsk will contribute to the development of the transport system in the Arkhangelsk Region and in the North-West Region as a whole. It can also contribute to making the Arkhangelsk Region more attractive for investments, to industrial development in adjacent regions and to the development of shelf fields in the Arctic zone of Russia.


    “Implementation of the project on construction of a deep-water district in the port of Arkhangelsk will contribute to the development of the transport system in the Arkhangelsk Region”


    - Arkhangelsk is currently considered as a port for regular departures of PV22 ferry to the Pavlovskoye Deposit on the Novaya Zemlya. Does the port have the required infrastructure?

    - The Harbour Master’s office of Arkhangelsk has not yet received any requests regarding the calls of PV22 ships. It should be noted that PV22 ships with their dimensions can call the port of Arkhangelsk.

    - Is the port ready to take part in fish transportation project by the Northern Sea Route. Are there facilities needed for that in the port?

    - The idea to deliver fish products from the Far East to Russia’s European part by the Northern Sea Route is certainly perfect in terms of fish quality preservation and economic efficiency. The Pacific fish can be delivered by the Northern Sea Route to the country’s western regions directly from the harvest area. During the summer-autumn navigation period of 2019, Dobroflot ships delivered about 5,600 tonnes of frozen fish to Arkhangelsk. With its electric power capacity, Arkhangelsk port cannot accept larger volumes of fish as it requires simultaneous connection of 120-200 reefer containers for their storage and further transit.

    - What are the plans for further development of the port?

    - To a great extent, further development of Arkhangelsk seaport depends on approval and implementation of certain projects including the one on construction of a deep-water district integrated with the Belkomur project.

    Besides, the road map for changing the limits of Russian ports foresees inclusion of Onega and Mexen seaports into the port of Arkhangelsk.

    Interviewed by Albert Svintitsky