• 2021 March 22

    Dredging progress in Russia

    Russia continues intense development of port infrastructure, hence large-scale dredging and hydraulic engineering works. In-depth discussion of the related issues was held in the framework of the Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging Congress organized by PortNews Media Group.


    According to the forecast of FSUE Rosmorport shared at the Congress, the company will dredge 28.3 million cbm of material in 2021 including 20 million cbm of capital dredging and 8.3 million cbm of maintenance dredging. In 2020, the total scope of dredging performed under Rosmorport's projects totaled 16 million cbm. Rosmorport gradually increases the share of dredging performed its own facilities. In 2021, it will reach 8 million cbm. 

    “Rosmorport to dredge 28.3 million cbm of material in 2021”


    Among the ambitious dredging projects being implemented in seaports of Russia are the construction of new dry bulk terminals in the port of Ust-Luga (total scope of dredging estimated at 14.5 million cbm), freight and passenger terminal in Pionersky of the Kaliningrad Region (1.3 million cbm), reconstruction of KSK grain terminal in Novorossiysk and infrastructure development in the port of Gelendzhik (0.7 million cbm), construction of LNG facility in the Bechevinskaya Bay of the Kamchatka Territory (16.5 million cbm) and Sukhodol port (7.1 million cbm).

    Besides, dredging works planned under Primorsky UPK project (Primorsk Universal Loading Complex)  are estimate at 12.5 million cbm, said Dmitry Temkin, Deputy General Director for Project Engineering, Primorsky UPK, LLC.

    The development of fish terminals in seaports is the competence of FSUE Natsrybresurs. As Victor Chebotayev, Chief Engineer of Natsrybresurs, said at the Congress, the key problem is insufficient depth at the berths of fish ports. In most cases, it doesn’t exceed 8 meters and, therefore cannot accommodate modern fishing ships. Dredging is needed there as well.

    Among the largest projects of Natsrybresurs, is comprehensive modernization of Seroglazka terminal in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky which foresees excavation of 400,000 cbm of material by 2026.

    Fish terminal development at the port of Murmansk will see dredging of 100,000 cbm of material.

    The Northern Sea Route

    Large-scale works in the water area of the Northern Sea Route are under responsibility of FSUE Hydrographic Company.


    “The most ambitious project is the reconstruction of the access canal in the Gulf of Ob (the Kara Sea)”


    The most ambitious project there is the reconstruction of the access canal in the Gulf of Ob in the Kara Sea commenced in 2020. 32.5 million cbm of material has been dredged under the project by today with the total scope of dredging throughout two phases of the project to reach almost 60 million cbm.

    According to Aleksandr Bengert, General Director of Hydrographic Company, some 2.3 million cubic meters of material is to be dredged in Sabetta port in 2021-2022, including 1 million cbm in 2021 and 1.3 million cbm in 2022.

    Upon completion of the infrastructure projects in the Gulf of Ob, annual maintenance dredging is to exceed 3 million cbm.

    Aleksandr Bengert says reconstruction of the access canal in the Gulf of Ob is to be completed in 2022. Then it will be possible to estimate the scope of annual maintenance dredging.

    Apart from the projects in the Gulf of Ob, there are other projects along the Northern Sea Route that require extensive dredging works. Among them is the “Bukhta Sever” terminal (2.9 million cbm), coal terminal “Severnaya Zvezda” (1.85 million cbm), Ob LNG (0.85 million cbm), Arctic LNG-1 (2.46 million cbm).

    Inland water ways

    The scope of dredging works at inland water ways of Russia is to total 21.2 million cubic meters in 2021, Konstantin Anisimov, Deputy Head of the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency, said at the Congress. Upon the transition to the standard-compliant maintenance of inland water ways, the scope of dredging works will range between 30 and 35 million cubic meters per year. In 2020, dredging at Russia’s IWW totaled 23.1 million cubic meters.


    “The scope of dredging works at inland water ways of Russia is to total 21.2 million cubic meters in 2021”


    When speaking about the most ambitious IWW projects in Russia, Aleksandr Poshivay, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation, mentioned the plan to build a 40-km long shipping canal near Gorodets.

    “Unfortunately, we have not passed the second phase of Nizhny Novgorod hydrosystem’s approval because the citizens are afraid of the project to bring the risk of floods in the territory...  Actually, the project foresees the construction of a temporary water storage reservoir to accumulate flood waters that would be gradually discharged to let the river resume its natural course by the end of the navigation season... Nevertheless, an intermediate option has been recently approved: we will build and additional chamber at the lock No 15 and 40-km long shipping canal. That will need dredging which is to be discussed”, said Aleksandr Poshivay.

    As for another large-scale IWW infrastructure project, the Bagayevsky hydrosystem, the official noted its compliance with the schedule and expressed his confidence that it will be completed in time.

    Besides, under consideration is the year-round navigation on the Astrakhan – Rostov-on-Don route. Certain hydraulic engineering works are to be conducted in that respect to prepare locks for operation in winter conditions as well as to ensure icebreaker assistance to the convoys of ships.

    Regulatory issues

    The Congress participants outlined some regulatory problems related to dredging and maintenance of hydraulic engineering facilities.

    Among them is the necessity to obtain state environmental approval of repair dredging works. Rosmorport suggests cancelling of it. According to Denis Vitsnarovsky, Head of the FSUE Rosmorport Capital Construction and Repair Department, the global practice shows that such an approval is excessive as it hinders prompt repair works.

    Besides, Rosmorport suggests revising the damage assessment method as there is a discrepancy between the cost of events aimed at compensation for damage to aquatic bioresources and caused damage de facto.

    In 2021-2022, Rosmorport together with ad hoc organizations and stakeholders will revise estimate norms for dredging works. Denis Vitsnarovsky said the revised norms would be submitted to the related Federal Register.

    According to the Congress participants, the current estimate norms and rates lead to the establishment of an estimated cost inadequate for the market with its regional specifics.


    “The current estimate norms and rates lead to the establishment of an estimated cost inadequate for the market with its regional specifics”


    One more thing that should be changed in the legislation is the exclusion of port HES from the Federal Law on Safety of Hydraulic Engineering Facilities (No 117).

    According to Dmitry Tarasov, Chairman of the Committee on Technology, Mechanization and Environment Activities, Association of Commercial Sea Ports, that law is aimed at risks possible at dams.

    “Accidents are really possible there and their consequences are usually disastrous ... Such accidents are not possible at berths”, said Dmitry Tarasov adding that it is necessary to focus on internal regulations of the Transport Ministry and their compliance monitoring by one body. That will let extend the service life of the existing berths while building new ones with respect of the latest safety standards.

    “With port HES except from the operation of that law we will make a major step towards lifting bureaucratic procedures for the businesses and Rosmorport”, said Dmitry Tarasov.

    Introduction of the related regulatory amendments is expected throughout the year of 2021.

    There are regulatory gaps in diving operations as well. Andrey Novozhilov, Executive Director, National Industry Association of Subsea Technical Contractors, shared sad statistics at the congress: Russia has the largest number of underwater accidents with divers. The second if the USA followed by other countries with a significant margin.

    Among the reasons mentioned by Andrey Novozhilov are the inadequate requirements for contractors, inappropriate transfer of experience from other spheres, misperception that customers bear no responsibility that is destroyed by judicial practice.

    Fleet and equipment

    Of course, special ships and equipment is needed for implementation of dredging and hydraulic engineering projects.

    As of today, the assets of IWW authorities comprise 2,359 units of technical fleet (1,908 units are ready for operation) including 154 units of dredging fleet (120 units ready for operation). Average age of the dredging facilities exceeds 36 years.

    Konstantin Anisimov, Deputy Head of the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency, said the Agency suggested construction of 49 dredging ships and 78 non-self-propelled and self-propelled barges under the national project for development of Russia’s inland water ways.

    According to him, the plans of Rechvodput for 2021-24 include the construction of four suction dredgers of 700 cbm in capacity (RRR class, 4395 design). The documents have already been prepared for an open competition with the contract to be signed not later than 1 June 2021.

    At the same time, Lotos shipyard is currently building four bucket-wheel dredgers of  innovative project in 2020-24 through a leasing mechanism. The long-term programme till 2030 foresees the construction of 16 more dredgers of that type.

    Taking into consideration specific requirements of certain IWW basins Rosmorrechflot is looking into construction of multifunctional self-propelled small-draft dredgers with capacity ranging between 800 and 3,000 cbm per hour. Total demand for such ships is estimated at four units in the short term and at about 10 units in the long-term.

    As Aleksey Rakhmanov, General Director of United Shipbuilding Corporation told at the Conference, cooperation on production of dredgers’ and barges’ hulls with their further equipment involving the production base of IHC implies gradual localization of dredging equipment manufacture while solving the tasks of import substitution. Local content in dredging ships built in Russia is to be raised to 80% within six-seven years.

    Among the key goals is to build up and upgrade the fleet of FSUE Hydrographic Company engaged in the surveying works on the Northern Sea Route.

    The year of 2021 is to see the construction of four new vessels for Hydrographic Company: Aleksandr Parfyonov, Vsevolod Peresypkin, Yury Babayev and Yury Osokin, said Vyacheslav Ruksha, Deputy General Director – Director of the NSR Directorate, Rosatom.

    Besides, the lead ship of Arc7class is to be built by 2025. Apart from construction of new ships, there is a plan to conduct deep modernization of the existing vessels, Grygory Mikheyev (by mid-2022), Peotr Kotsov (by mid-2023) and Aleksey Maryshev (by mid-2024).


    “The global trend is to build more powerful dredgers with higher performance”


    Meanwhile, the global trend is to build more powerful dredgers with higher performance. The recent 20 years have seen a considerable growth of dredgers size as well as their number. The largest design bureaus continue looking for principally new solutions like autonomous underwater dredgers. That topic was covered by Gennady Yegorov, General Director of Marine Engineering Bureau.

    As an example of a sophisticated modern dredger built in Russia the expert mentioned the Yury Maslyukov of Damen’s TSHD-2000 design built by Onezhsky Shipyard in 2020.

    It should be noted that  DAMEN supported the Congress as its General Sponsor and expressed its interest in expanding their presence in the market of Russia and in cooperation with Russian companies.

    Hydraulic engineering and dredging works require involvement of underwater equipment and new environmentally friendly technologies. Innovative developments and solutions in that sphere were presented at the Congress by Nonius Engineering.


    We appreciate the assistance of FSUE Rosmorport, General Partner of the Congress in the event organization.

    We appreciate the support of Rosmorrechflot and Atomflot.

    We appreciate the Ministry of Transport’s active participation in the business programme of the Congress.

    We are especially grateful to our General Sponsor, Damen Shipyards Group, for the Congress support from year to year.

    We thank the Congress Sponsors - Boskalis, Nonius Engineering, GTNS, Mordraga, Nevskaya Environmental Dredging Company.

    We thank the Sponsors of the Forum of Dredging Companies held in the framework of the Congress – KTK-Bunker and Composit.

    By Vitaly Chernov 


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