• 2016 December 29

    With new facilities into a new year

    Annual throughput capacity of Russian seaports has grown by 32 mln t and is expected to reach 715-720 mln t in 2016. The development of port infrastructure features new trends shaping amid the changing macroeconomic and geopolitical situation. IAA PortNews offers a brief review of 2016 events and trends in stevedoring sector, port infrastructure, shipping and shipbuilding.


    The growth of Russian seaports’ throughput capacity in 2016 should be attributed to both launching of new terminals and development of the existing ones.

    The key event in the development of port infrastructure of the Baltic Basin was the launching and the development of Multipurpose Sea Cargo Complex Bronka (MSCC Bronka). The terminal was put into operation in late 2015 with Phase II of the Complex launched in December 2016. Fenix LLC (MSCC Bronka investor and operator) has thus implemented its investment obligations on this year commissioning of a container terminal able to handle 1.45 mln TEUs and 260,000 Ro-Ro units per year.  The next phase is to expand the container terminal capacity to 1.9 mlnTEUs. It is to be completed by 2020 due to considerable fall of container shipping market. FSUE Rosmorport has implemented dredging works at the access canal to MSCC Bronka. Its depth is 14.4 m now. 

    Besides, this year has seen the launching of the new pipeline linking port Primorsk  with export terminal RPK-Vysotsk-Lukoil-II. The pipeline’s annual capacity is up to 3 mln t with a possibility of expansion to 5 mln t per year.

    In the Northern Basin, the new Vorota Arktiki (Arctic Gate) terminal was launched in spring 2016 as a new stage in developing the Novoportovskoye field. In a couple of years the terminal is supposed to transship over 6 mln t of oil per year.

    The terminal makes oil transportation possible even in extreme weather and geographical conditions, with temperatures as low as minus 50 Celsius and ice as thick as over 2 metres.

    In January 2016, storage tanker Umba was deployed at offshore transshipment facility RPK NORD in the Murmansk region. The VLCC Umba is used for transshipment of Arctic export oil of Gazprom Neft from the Novoportovskoye and the Prirazlomnoyy fields. The VLCC Umba is an offshore oil transshipment facility of some 300,000 t in capacity able to accommodate the simultaneous berthing of vessels on both sides. Its on-board infrastructure makes possible the intake, storage and transshipment of oil, and its full and timely customs and border clearance, as well as bunkering operations for shuttle-tankers and transporters. RPK Nord is expected to handle some 12 mln t of oil per year.

    In October 2016, Murmansk also saw the ceremonial opening of the renovated building of its passenger terminal Arctic Harbour. The reconstruction project was financed by the federal budget and Rosmorport. More than RUB 460 mln was spent for reconstruction of the terminal building, over RUB 790 mln - for the pier of long-distance lines.

    Under the Federal Targeted Programme, a State Border checkpoint will be established in the terminal building by 2018.

    Apart from commissioning of the new terminals, the development of the existing ones was performed. The most ambitious project in the development of terminal facilities is the construction of Phase III of coal terminal Vostochny Port in the Primorsky Territory. 

    This year has seen the completion of cargo berth No51 under Vostochny Port's Phase III project. Berth No51 is a 300-meter long facility with a depth of over 16 m. It can accommodate vessels of up to 180,000 t in deadweight. More than 4,000 pipe piles manufactured in Russia under import substitution programme were driven with the application of a unique technology (from the shore). In 2017, the berth will be equipped with two ship loading conveyors capable of handling 3,000 t of coal per hour.  

    Bulky handling equipment was assembled under the project by December 2016.

    Construction of Vostochny Port’s Phase III is being implemented as scheduled. The terminal is to be commissioned by the end of 2017. This will let Vostochny Port JSC increase its annual throughput to 39 mln t. Investments into Phase III total RUB 27 bln including RUB 5 bln for railway infrastructure facilities. No state financing is involved. The cargo base is represented by Russian coal produced in Kuzbass and other coal fields of Russia.

    It should be noted that today the project on expansion of Vostochny Port terminal is probably the only example of real implementation of plans announced in the field of coal port infrastructure development in the Primorsky Territory.

    While talking about the Far East we cannot miss the construction of a modern passenger terminal building in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The works were basically completed in December 2016. The building resting on earthquake-resistant foundation covers the area of 8,500 sqm. It will accommodate the Harbour Master’s office and the customs services. Up to 200 persons can be serviced simultaneously in the building. The waiting space, ticket offices, luggage storage rooms and information desk will be arranged in the building in 2017. One of the blocks will accommodate the border checkpoint.

    The construction works started in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in summer 2014 under the federal programme “Economic and social development of the Far East and the Baikal territories till 2018”. The previous passenger terminal building was demolished six years ago. It was built in 1963.

    Shipping and shipbuilding

    The challenges and prospects of domestic merchant ships were covered earlier in our article >>>> Yet, we would emphasize the year of 2016 has seen landmark events for the country’s shipping industry, especially for inland water transport. The State Council held on 15 August 2016 under the chairmanship of RF President Vladimir Putin gave the green light for creation of the new hydrosystems, the Bagayevsky and Gorodetsky, at the inland water ways of Russia’s European part.  Another very significant order of the President was to ensure measures of long-term state support of civil shipbuilding in Russia including extension of shipbuilding support programme through granting subsidies to Russian transport companies and shipping lines to compensate part of the cost of interest on loans obtained to acquire new vessels instead of those to be scrapped (so called ship utilization grant, or SUG).

    As for the new SUG, the Ministry of Industry and Trade failed to submit the draft decree to the Government of Russia. Therefore, there are concerns about availability of SUG in the first half of 2017, before the summer navigation begins.

    The full list of presidential instructions following the State Council is available at the website of IAA PortNews (in Russian) >>>>

    As for construction of icebreakers, the year has been quite full of events. 60 MW icebreaker Arktika of Project 22220 was launched in May 2016. 16 MW diesel-electric icebreaker Novorossiysk of Project 21900М (the last in the series) was delivered to FSUE Rosmorport in December.  The first two icebreakers in the series, the Vladivostok and the Murmansk were delivered in 2015.

    As for diesel-electric icebreaker Viktor Chernomyrdin, the construction of which is out of schedule, it is expected to be delivered to its customer, FSUE Rosmorport, in QIV’2018, says United Shipbuilding Corporation.

    Revival of building passenger cruise ships is a milestone event in domestic shipbuilding. Such vessels have been out of construction for decades. Moscow River Shipping Company has signed a contract for construction of one cruise ship of Project PV300. The ship has been already been laid down at Astrakhan based shipyard Lotus (United Shipbuilding Corporation). Up to 10 new cruise ships of Project PV300 can be required if the project succeeds and obsolete passenger ships are replaced (modifications are possible to meet specific customers’ requirements).

    Besides, there is a plan to build two ferries to service Vanino-Kholmsk line. For that purpose allocations are foreseen in the amount of RUB 5.544 bln under the Federal Targeted Programme “Economic and Social Development of the Far East and the Baikal Region till 2018”. Yet, the market analysis showed that the cost of the two ferries considerably exceeds this amount. So it was proposed to implement the project with involvement of State Transport Leasing Company OJSC which has developed a draft programme for ferries leasing.

    Russia has been developing construction of fishing vessels this year. USC has contracted the construction of 7 trawlers, 5 ocean going trawlers are to be built in Sevastopol. USC sees the prospects of building about 100 trawler ships.

    What tomorrow brings?

    The growth of port facilities in 2017 will be driven by the launching of port Sabetta which will be able to transship at least 16.5 mln t of LNG per year in the future. In the long-term outlook the port can be used for transshipment of other cargoes. In this case its throughput can be as high as 70 mln t per year).

    The Arctic will also see the beginning of operation at coal terminal on the Chaika peninsula (Krasnoyarsk Territory, Taimyr, port Dikson). 45,000 DWT dry bulk carrier with the first batch of Taimyr coal produced by VostokUgol will dispatch from the terminal on the Taimyr peninsula on 15 June 2017. In the future, annual shipments from the terminal can reach 20-30 mln t of coal, he says.  Arctic Mining Company managed by VostokUgol is working in the field where high quality anthracite was discovered. The Company is to develop a sound infrastructure (a railway and a seaport) for round-the-year shipments by the ‘Arctic Corridor’, also with icebreaker assistance in winter navigation season.

    In the Southern Basin, expansion plans have been announced by Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC). Under the project CPC is going to launch a new oil pumping station (OPS-5) in the Stavrapol Territory in February-March 2017. The facility readiness is over 90% today. It will be able to pump 3,200 cbm of oil per hour. The station is built as part of a programme on increasing CPC-R pipelines capacity allowing for company’s annual oil transit growth from 40 mln t to 76 mln t.

    In the Far East of Russia we are going to see the start of investment projects at port Vanino – coal terminal Far East Vanino Port and coal terminal of Skhatrans in the Muchke Bay. Besides, Phase III of Vostochny Port JSC will be put into operation in 2017.

    The development of port infrastructure can be influenced by measures undertaken by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia which started fining stevedoring companies fixing tariffs for their services provided to Russian shippers in foreign currency. Read more on the issue >>>>

    In our opinion, the prospects of Russia’s port infrastructure are in the construction and development of dedicated deepwater terminals for shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG). A lot will depend on the macroeconomic situation. If the currency rate is stable and real income of the population is not plunging we can expect stabilization in the market of container transportation. We can also see a shift in balance towards exports in container segment if rouble remains quite weak. Further redirection of cargo flows from the ports of neighboring countries to Russian ports is also possible. In the oil sector a lot will depend on observance of oil production cut deal. Oil exports will most probably increase, especially if Russia succeeds in attracting part of Belorussian oil products to its ports.

    The most essential event expected in shipbuilding is the completion of shipbuilding complex Zvezda in the Far East which will allow for construction of large capacity vessels.

    No new ambitious construction project are expected in 2017 due to limited budget. However, the project that have already been started will most probably be continued.

    Vitaly Chernov