Welcome to Russia Week!
During the heyday of the former Soviet Union, shipyards were scattered all over the various socialist republics. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia lost access to many shipbuilding and ship repair enterprises, and later in the 1990s the country lost many competencies in the field of shipbuilding.
At present, though, we can say that Russian shipbuilding is entering a revival. Thanks to government support measures, the construction of ships of various classes and uses is in full swing.
There remain significant challenges, however. Among these are the need to increase local content in the manufacture of marine component equipment, personnel training, and modernisation of local shipyards.
In recent years, the Russian authorities have been taking measures aimed at upgrading the country’s commercial fleet and developing the local shipbuilding sector. The results of this economic policy are already evident: local shipyards are being provided with newbuilding orders, which, albeit with some delay, are being completed.
Export deliveries by the Russian shipbuilding sector as of year-end 2020 totaled US$734.2 million, or an increase of 40.7 per cent compared to 2019. This is remarkable considering the increase in deliveries occurred despite the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Russian-built ships and floating assets exported in 2020 were primarily to markets in the EU, which account for 53.5 per cent (US$392 million in export volumes with US$188 million comprising deliveries to customers in Norway and US$91 million to Germany). In addition, a large volume was exported to the Republic of Korea (US$126 million). The Vice-President of the Russian Export Centre (part of VEB.RF Group) said that the total volume of ship and watercraft exports supported by the REC in 2020 reached US$2.6 million.
The completion of Arktika, the world’s largest and most powerful nuclear-powered icebreaker, and Viktor Chernomyrdin, the world’s most powerful diesel-electric icebreaker, were among the most outstanding achievements of Russian shipbuilding in 2020. For the first time in thirty years, a Russian shipyard has delivered a large capacity trawler, the 86-metre Barentsevo More, and the first ECO series tanker, the 280-tonne Georgy Moskalev, which is designed for operation in the country’s inland waterways. Also, Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex made its debut in the Far East shipping trade with the delivery of the country’s first Aframax tanker, Vladimir Monomakh, thus demonstrating that Russian shipbuilding enterprises are capable of handling large-tonnage commercial projects that involve assembly of large pre-fabricated sections. Last year, Mustai Karim, the first cruise ship built in Russia during the modern era, set out on her maiden voyage.
Despite the challenges posed by 2020, the year has really become outstanding in terms of the commissioning of unique vessels in Russia.
Introduction contributed especially for BairdMaritime.com by Vitaly Chernov, Editor-in-Chief, IAA PortNews