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2015 April 22

Eastern-Siberian Inland Navigation Company COO Vitaly Kelmanov: "We'll have to change itineraries until allowable depth is ensured",

Eastern-Siberian Inland Navigation Company  (ESINC) is set to kick off shipping season as of May 1, 2015. On the eve of navigation season launch, the largest shipping company's Chief Operating Officer Vitaly Kelmanov in an interview with IAA PortNews told about the scheduled routes of passenger transportation, its expected volumes, on the new fleet construction, and the challenges his company may face.

- Vitaly, when does the navigation season actually begin?

- This year we plan to open navigation on May 1st. According to tradition, it will be opened by passenger ships M/V Lebed, M/V Sokol and M/V Moskva that operate on the Angara river itineraries. Also on May 1, we plan to launch a passenger AT/B unit: an articulated tug “Blagoveschensk” and a barge No 1048 for transportation of passengers and vehicles. Besides, the M/V Baikalskiye Vody is operated year-round.

- Tell us about completed repairs and tune-ups during off-season (2014-2015) and where they were performed?

- Eastern-Siberian Inland Navigation Company has its own shiprepair facilities, which enables us to carry out scheduled works necessary for regular maintenance of the fleet. Main divisions of ESINC responsible for this are the ports of Baikal, Svirsk and Bratsk, and the Irkutsk repair / maintenance facilities of the fleet and Usolsky repair yard.

- How many ships are expected to be deployed during the 2015 shipping season?

- In the navigation season of 2015, we plan to operate 22 passenger and cargo vessels.

- What are the routes scheduled for passenger and cargo transportation and what are the expected volumes?

- In 2015, we plan to operate on four routes (ferry services): "Balagansk - Igzhey" and "Svirsk - Kamenka" towards the Bratsk Reservoir; "P. Baikal – Listvyanka" and "Sakhyurta – Olkhon" towards Lake Baikal.

In 2014 the volume of passenger traffic on these services amounted to 143,500 people and 237,600 tonnes of cargo. In 2015 we are set to deploy nine towing ships to assist cargo shipping and rafts towing. The volume of transported goods according to this year plan, will be 1,228,000 tonnes.

- Do you expect any difficulties this shipping season? What is your company's approach to solving possible problems?

- River forecast show low water level is expected this year. So we are concerned that there will be insufficient depths on the Angara River rapids and Irkutsk reservoir outlet. As a result this may complicate sailing of hydrofoils via these river stretches.

We are considering itineraries change until the minimum allowable depths are ensured in the rivers.

- Please tell us about the plans to build a new fleet.

- The shipping company is currently implementing a large-scale project to build a ferry for the “MRS – Olkhon". As of today, fabrication of the ferry hull has been completed, the construction of superstructure first deck and wheelhouse is underway with installation of ladders, boilers and diesel generators. In the near future it is planned to install the main engines and pumps, interior outfitting, laying pipes, electrical networks, etc.. The new ferry launching is scheduled for the summer of 2016.

The newbuilding project is valued at RUB 252 million.

Interviewed by Margarita Babkova

About ESINC
Eastern-Siberian Inland Navigation Company (part of Eastland Group) is the largest shipping company in Irkutsk region, Eastern Siberia. The company is the main carrier of freight and passengers on Lake Baikal and the Angara River, Bratsk and Ust-Ilim reservoirs. Every year, ESINC owned passenger and cargo ships transport about 200,000 people and about 2 million tonnes.