• 2022 February 18

    Infrastructure depth

    New projects on extraction of natural resources in the Arctic that require expansion of port facilities, the projects in the Baltic and Far East ports as well as ambitious plans on upgrading of inland water ways may critically ramp up the demand of the country and the market for dredging works and industrial ships by 2035. The scope of works and their financing was discussed at the 5th International Congress “Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging” held by IAA PortNews in Moscow

    The largest scope of dredging works is expected in the Baltic, Far East and Arctic basins of Russia. In that respect, intensified construction of dredging and industrial ships is planned as well as transfer of foreign ships to the flag of Russia. Extensive hydraulic engineering works are also needed on inland water ways.

    Port and river infrastructure of Russia continues growing rapidly, hence considerable volumes of capital and maintenance dredging as well as engineering works in the future. Those issues were discussed by the key stakeholders of the market – customers and contractors – at the 5th International Congress “Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging” held by IAA PortNews in Moscow.

    Dredging and hydraulic engineering works in seaports along the Northern Sea Route are the responsibility of FSUE Hydrographic Company (a company of Rosatom), at fish terminals – FSUE Natsrybresurs, in other seaports – FSUE Rosmorport, on rivers – administrations of related basins.

    Rosmorport’s programme

    As Denis Vitsnarovsky, Deputy Head of FSUE Rosmorport’s Capital Construction and Repair Division, said at the Congress, essential scope of capital dredging is planned under the following projects: construction of multipurpose terminal of Novotrans Active LLC in the port of Ust-Luga (the scope of dredging is estimated at 12 million cbm, completion scheduled for 2023, additional capacity – 24.3 million tonnes per year), Primorsk Universal Loading Complex (scope of dredging – 12.5 million cbm, completion - 2024, additional capacity - 65 million tonnes per year), construction of a complex for transshipment of LNG in the Kamchatka Territory (Bechevinskaya Bay, scope of dredging – 18 million cbm, completion - 2022, additional capacity – 21.7 million tonnes per year), construction of a new specialized port in the Sukhodol Bay (scope of dredging 7.1 million cbm, completion - 2022, additional capacity - 20 million tonnes per year).

    Among other projects is the construction of coastal and sea infrastructure in the port of Gelendzhik (yacht marina: operational water area, access canal and aids to navigation with the scope of dredging estimated at 0.3 million cbm and completion scheduled for 2022), reconstruction of KSK grain terminal in the port of Novorossiysk (scope of dredging – 0.43 million cbm, completion - 2023, additional capacity – 3.7 million tonnes per year), reconstruction of facilities in the port of Tuapse (scope of dredging – 0.03 million cbm, completion - 2022, additional capacity – 1.4 million tonnes per year), construction of two berths in the port of Novorossiysk (scope of dredging – 1.4 million cbm, completion - 2025, additional capacity – 11.5 million tonnes per year), construction of Eurochem terminal in the port of Ust-Luga (scope of dredging – 1.1 million cbm, completion - 2023, additional capacity – 5.5 million tonnes per year) and freight/passenger terminal in Pionersky town, Kaliningrad Region (scope of dredging – 1.3 million cbm, completion – 2023, additional capacity - 3 million tonnes per year.

    Besides, the project on reconstruction of the Volga-Caspian Seaway Canal is to be completed in 2028.
    According to Rosmorport, pre-project works will be conducted in 2022, designing will be executed in 2023-24, construction – in 2024-28. The scope of dredging is preliminary estimated at 15 million cbm. The project is aimed at ensuring the passage of ships with a draft of up to 4.5 meters.

    The scope of maintenance dredging on the canal planned for 2022 is estimated at 7.1 million cbm. Over a half of this amount (3.9 million cbm) is to be dredged involving FSUE Rosmorport’s own forces and facilities. The relevant competition procedures are underway.

    Rosatom’s volumes

    When speaking at the Congress, Aleksandr Bengert, General Director of FSUE Hydrographic Company, told about the planned capital dredging under several Arctic projects on the Northern Sea Route. 

    Phase 2 of the project on expansion of the sea channel in the Gulf of Ob is to result in making it 573 meters wide. The scope of dredging works is estimated at 11.2 million cbm (dredging works foreseen by Phase 1 have been completed). Implementation of the project on construction of a terminal to service the Syradasayskoye coal field  foresees the construction of a water area and an access canal with a depth of -16 m. The scope of works is estimated at 1.85 million cbm. Under the project on construction of oil terminal “Bukhta Sever”, a depth of -18 meters is to be ensured by dredging of 2.92 million cbm of material. To service cargo base of Baimsky Mining and Processing Complex, a territory is to be built in the area of Cape Nagleynyn with the scope of dredging estimated at 1.54 million cbm. Under the Arctic LNG 1 project, a cargo berth with a depth of -11.5 m is to be built and 2.46 million cbm of material is to be dredged. An essential scope of dredging, 14.82 million cbm, is planned uner the project on construction of a hub in Yakutia, near Naiba settlement in the Bulunsky District. Its water area and an access canal are to be 14.2 m deep.

    According to Aleksandr Bengert, maintenance dredging ensuring design depth in the Arctic will make about 5 million cbm per year from 2023-24.

    Natsrybresurs' berths

    As for fish terminals, their key problem is insufficient depth. According to Victor Chebotayev, Chief Engineer of Natsrybresurs, less than 20% of Russian fish terminals’ berths (4.2 km of total 27-km long waterline) can accommodate ships with a draft of 9 meters. 

    “There is a problem of actual depth not corresponding to design figures”, he emphasized. 

    Fish terminals’ infrastructure available today can handle up to 6 million tonnes of fish products with the number of calls totaling 45,000 ships per year. One of the tasks is diversification of cargo base in order to raise efficiency of operations. According to Natsrybresurs’ calculations, the optimal solution is a parity of handling bioresources and other cargoes.

    Besides, the company considers it necessary to expand fish terminal at the port of Makhachkala in view of expansion of the fishing fleet operating in the Caspian Sea. Besides, reconstruction is needed at the fish terminals of Korsakov, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Murmansk and Novorossiysk ports as well as building up refrigerating facilities with a possibility to reload cargo onto railway transport.

    Fleet for deepening

    Taking into consideration of the scope of works, dredging companies start looking into a transfer of their ships involved in Russian projects to the flag of the Russian Federation.

    Eduard Silantiev, Executive Director of Boskalis, says Boskalis was among the first foreign companies operating in the Russian market to do it.

    According to the speaker, back in 2020, Boskalis asked RF Ministry of Transport about the procedure for obtaining a permit to use foreign-flagged ships for coastal shipping in RF. Even at that time, the speaker said, Boskalis was ready to operate in the market with ships under the flag of Russia.

    “One year later I can say that we operate four Russian-flagged ships: Nordic Giant, two barges and Arctic Scradeway, a ship for underwater gravel leveling under construction in Murmansk” he said.

    According to RF Government’s Decree published in 2020, foreign-flagged ships not included into any Russian register can perform one-time coastwise shipping operations (lifting of sunken property, hydraulic engineering and subsea works) only in case of absence or insufficiency of dedicated domestic ships or if Russian ships cannot meet the requirements on the period of time, the scope of works or the area of operation.

    That could threaten implementation of long-term agreements signed between the customers and contractors of dredging works in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation with its large-scale projects on production and transshipment of raw materials.  

    When speaking at the Congress, Roberto Pelicer, Deputy General Director of Mordraga, also told about the company’s intentions to transfer some of the ships to the flag of Russia. However, he did not specify when or how many ships can be transferred.

    Paul Voortmeijer, Regional Manager, Van Oord, shared the company’s plans to look into the transfer of its ships to the flag of Russia if there are long-term contracts in the country.

    Hydrographic Company is looking into investing about RUB 20 billion in construction of its own dredging fleet. It is to comprise trailing suction hopper dredgers, ships for seabed intervention, a backhoe dredger and hydrographic survey vessels. As of today, Hydrographic Company is developing a related investment programme. Its implementation is planned for 2023-30.

    The Federal Marine and River Transport Agency (Rosmorrechflot), in its turn, considers the construction of shallow-draft dredgers. 

    “Over the recent years we have been upgrading our dredging fleet for inland water ways and last year we started actively using the mechanism of leasing allowing for getting more units without any increase of expenses. We will take the delivery of the first two dredgers in 2022, two more – next year, then four units with the number to increase later. Notably, those dredgers are of unified design which simplifies their maintenance, particularly when moved from one basin to another. Further on, we are looking into construction of shallow-draft dredgers for operation in sections with a depth of less than 4 meters”, said Zakhary Dzhioyev, Deputy Head of Rosmorrechflot.

    According to information obtained by IAA PortNews, there is a pressing need for modernization of dredging equipment being used to ensure navigable depth on the Zeya river in the Amursky Region. The river is used for transportation of equipment to Gazprom’s Amur Gas Processing Plant (Amur GPP).

    Gazprom also needs to expand its fleet for development of Arctic projects. According to Anatoly Suvalov, Chief Technologist, Gazprom: 65% of total production volume will be from new centers by 2035. The offshore upstream clusters include the Kara Sea, Obsko-Tazovsky and Far East with licensed blocks.

    “Approximately half of the new upstream centers are offshore projects. At the same time, there are no proven technologies for gas production, development and transportation for 90% of the promising areas of the Arctic shelf,” Mr. Suvalov was quoted as saying.

    According to Anatoly Suvalov, the development of the Arctic shelf will require the deployment of ice class ships, the development of ice-class fixed platforms and pipelaying technology, as well as shallow-draft vessels for operations in Sharapov Shar Bay.

    One more project was presented by Azov-Don Basin Administration. It envisages the construction of four shallow-draft icebreakers in view of organizing year-round navigation on the Russian inland waterways along the so-called 'Southern Horseshoe’ (the Astrakhan – Rostov-on-Don route), Andrey Lavrishchev, Deputy Head of ADB Administration, said at the Congress. According to him, such icebreakers are most probably should be intended specifically for this sector. They are to break through ice of up to 0.9 m thick and to be operated by ADB Administration. Investments into the construction of icebreakers are estimated at RUB 28 billion.

    Besides, four pusher-tugs, three ice-class environmental response ships and six buoy tenders are needed under the project. This fleet is to be built in 2024-2030.

    Specifications of the required ships will be defined upon obtaining the results of the related research which is to be completed by April 2022.

    The project is aimed at ensuring nine-month long navigation season on the route with its further extension to eleven months. For that purpose it is planned to conduct reconstruction of 19 hydraulic engineering facilities (RUB 38 billion), and reconstruction of dams of the Kochetovsky and Nikolaevsky hydrosystems (RUB 23.8 billion). In the result, cargo traffic in this section is to grow by 4 million tonnes per year, the number of passages – by 100 ships per year. Total investments into the project are estimated at RUB 89.8 billion.

    Nikolay Shablikov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nordic Engineering JSC, marked a positive dynamics in construction of dredging ships in Russia. Aleksey Klepikov, General Director, R-FLOT Group, emphasized the necessity to establish cooperative ties for ensuring maximum local content of ship equipment and further phasing out of imports.

    Russia also builds dredging ships designed by Damen. The company’s portfolio of ships in the Russian market numbers 36 dredgers and tugs. 

    “We build a lot of ships in Russia and worldwide. Damen has stablished an engineering company in Saint-Petersburg which, apart from designing, is engaged in procurement of Russian equipment, management of supply chains, assistance and support of production. We also have our service centers in Russia with professional Russian-speaking engineers offering round-the-clock support throughout all time-zones ", said Olivier Marcus, Dredging Product Director, Damen Shipyards Gorinchem.

    PortNews Media Group is grateful to its partners and sponsors for assistance in organization of the Congress.  

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Vitaliy Chernov


Yana Wojciechowska