Russia’s leading shipping companies suggest development of ATB services by the USA example
This issue was discussed at the webinar “River fleet of the USA. What is useful for us or how do they make profit?”
The participants of the webinar “River fleet of the USA. What is useful for us or how do they make profit?” organized by IAA PortNews, looked into application of US experience in the shipping sector of Russia. Professor Gennady Yegorov, D.Sc. in Engineering, General Director of Marine Engineering Bureau, reported on the subject. He told about deployment of articulated tug-barge units on the rivers of the USA.
Units numbering several barges of simple design are moved by tugs and can carry both large (up to 60,000 tonnes) and small batches of cargo depending on the number of barges. The depth required is just 2.7 m.
As Igor Ganin, General Director of Prime Shipping, told at the webinar, the company’s experience shows that economic efficiency of an ATB unit per ton in a direct voyage is higher than that of a self-propelled ship.
According to Albert Vygovsky, General Director of Pola Rise LLC, ATB units are more profitable in case of certain level of demand. If the demand is low, self-propelled ships are more profitable. He noted that the key challenge of inland water transport in Russia is its competition with the railways that enjoy state subsidies.
This opinion was supported by Aleksey Palgov, First Deputy to General Director of Volgotrans LLC. He emphasized that without subsidies water transport is more profitable which is confirmed by the experience of the USA with its free competition between those segments.
Gennady Yegorov, in his turn, mentioned excessive technical requirements which lead to high construction costs.
High cost of ship construction in Russia and competition with Russian Railways was also in the focus of Anatoly Belozerov, General Director of P.Transco, as well as other issues. The expert also supported the idea of arranging cargo transportation by ATB units by the US example.
When summarizing the webinar results, Konstantin Anisimov, Deputy Head of Rosmorrechflot (Federal Marine and River Transport Agency) said that each part of inland water ways of Russia has optimal ships depending individual economic conditions.
“Our first task is debottlenecking of inland water ways and ensuring bulk cargoes for the rivers. That is to be followed by creation of new types of equipment”, said Konstantin Anisimov. He also underlined the significance of such seminars allowing for a comprehensive consideration of the situation and for selection of optimal solutions.