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2014 October 16

Ports to emerge from depth

Russia’s port infrastructure will develop towards transshipment of dry cargo and construction of deepwater terminals. Additional efforts are to be made to ensure competitiveness of the Baltic ports as tougher environmental standards come into effect.

These issues have been discussed by the leading experts of the industry at the 7th International Forum “Transport-Transit Potential” held in Saint-Petersburg in October 2014.   

As of today, Russia numbers 67 seaports including those of Crimea. In January-September 2014, their throughput totaled 465 mln t, a 6.2% growth, year-on-year. According to Nadezhda Chaadayeva, head of Rosmorport’s Strategic Development Department, throughput of Russian seaports is expected to exceed 600 mln t in 2014 (+5.3%, year-on-year). Liquid bulk cargo accounts for more than a half of total throughput while the balance is expected to change by 2030, Rosmorport representative said. Transshipment of dry cargo will exceed that transshipment of liquid bulk cargo as more oil will be transported by pipelines.

The capacity of all Russian seaports is about 870 mln t today. With federal and private investments it is to increase 1.5 times to 1 bln t by 2030.

Almost all major ports of Russia implement their infrastructure development projects in compliance with Russia’s Port Infrastructure Development Strategy through 2030.

Major target of port infrastructure development in Russia is to improve competitiveness of the ports, Chaadayeva said. A number of important tasks are to be implemented in this regard: building up of ports capacity to allow for cargo flow increase as well as attraction of investors to speed up cargo handling and to improve the process quality.

Russia’s transport system has recently been expanded with the Crimean ports: Sevastopol, Kerch, Feodosia, Yevpatoria and Yalta the development of which is the task of Crimean Seaports SUE.

According to Rosmorport representative, Kerch is to see reconstruction of port infrastructure facilities for passenger ferries, dredging operations to increase ferry link capacity, and reconstruction LPG terminal.

The development plans of Feodosia include reconstruction of port infrastructure, completion of berth No2 construction and creation of yacht marina.

In Yalta, hydraulic facilities are to be reconstructed to increase passenger flow to 2 mln per year. Besides, reconstruction of port infrastructure is to be performed in the cargo district of Massandra.

Sevastopol will see reconstruction of port infrastructure facilities including passenger berths and infrastructure development at Gradskaya quay.

As for Yevpatoria, port infrastructure facilities intended for accepting of passenger ships will undergo reconstruction as well as cargo district on Donuzlav lake. Crimean projects are included into the federal special-purpose programme. RUB 6.5 bln is to be spent for their implementation, Chaadayeva says.

Nevertheless, port operation depends not only on well developed infrastructure but also on state-of-the-art equipment and well co-ordinated work of all parties involved in cargo transshipment. According to Arthur Yamalov, representative of Saint-Petersburg department of the Delovaya Rossia association, port operation is complicated with great number of transport process participants.

According to Roman Kozlov, Director of the Guild of Professional Participants of Foreign-Economic Activity, says it is impossible to sign direct forwarder-stevedore contracts. “The work is carried out through a marine agent which results in higher cost of services”, Kozlov notes.

To improve competitiveness of Russian ports Arthur Yamalov proposes that seaport authorities and large stevedoring companies should have consultative bodies involving representatives of state control bodies, business entities operating in seaports, participants of foreign trade activities. He thinks that the consultative bodies should solve the conflict of interests of transportation process participants, evaluate satisfaction of port transportation service customers and improvement of performance of both the port and stevedoring companies operating there. Yamalov says this proposal is to be implemented in July 2015.

Experts are also concerned about toughening of environmental standards in the shipping industry which can have a negative impact on operation of the Baltic ports.

Restrictions on sulphur content in ship fuel coming into effect in the Baltic and North Seas from January 1, 2015 set a limit of 0.1%.

The process of recognizing the implications of the Sulphur Directive and elaboration of adequate solutions has just started gaining momentum in Russia, Aleksey Shukletsov, Executive Director of Bronka project initiator and investor Fenix LLC, says.

According to him, the policy aimed at improvement of Baltic seaports’ competitiveness should be systematic that can be ensured by the state alone. An adequate supporting programme should be elaborated by scientific and analytical institutions.

Aleksey Shukletsov has defined major points of this programme. In his opinion, Russian ports of the Baltic Sea should be deep enough to accept vessels with maximum dimensions allowed for the Danish Straits. This would decrease the cost price of cargo unit shipment and contribute to sea transport competitiveness against the land transport. Besides, industrial port zones with relevant customs and tax preferences should be developed in close vicinity to the ports, as clusters with facilities focused on export/import activities. To some extent, this will potentially secure certain cargo flows for the ports. Also, it is necessary to set a target and to create an environment to provide comprehensive integrated services of a maximum length. When it comes to containers, this requires operators of the national level and the development of hinterland terminals network. A well-run system of railways should link the port and hinterland terminals.

Of course, it will take much time but this policy should be followed by all interested parties.

The proposals forwarded at the 7th International Forum “Transport-Transit Potential” will be included into the final resolution wich will be further submitted to the legislative and executive authorities of the Russian Federation.

Margarita Babkova