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Deep-seated Truth

Posted on March 3, 2016

Port infrastructure is being intensely developed in Russia. Draught Strategy for the Development of Seaports Infrastructure till 2030 implies more dredging, also in Arctic conditions. Prospects of Russia’s dredging industry and import substitution were discussed by the participants of the 3rd International Forum of Dredging Companies organized by Media-Group PortNews. The Forum also saw the achievement of some agreements and signing of contracts significant for the industry.

Seabed horizons

Port infrastructure in Russia is developing intensely despite unfavorable economic and geopolitical situation. Russia still needs deepwater ports in view of global trends towards using vessels of larger tonnage. Without building such ports and without maintaining design depth at the existing harbors domestic ports will lose their competitiveness.

As a rule, large scale port projects in Russia are implemented through cooperation of private investors with the state in the name of FSUE Rosmorport which ensures dredging of water areas and access channels. As Andrei Lavrishchev, Executive Director of Rosmorport, told at the Forum, the Company is currently revising the Strategy for the Development of Seaports Infrastructure till 2030 together with McKinsey, consulting firm well known around the world. The work on long-term investment programme of Rosmorport, on which the Strategy is based, is to be completed in April-May 2016. The Strategy is expected by autumn 2016. Then it will be considered by Russian Government. When approved by the Government it will become an official document setting the priorities in the port industry.

According to Andrei Lavrishchev, the Strategy provides for the development of port infrastructure ain all basins of the Russian Federation.

The plans on the development of port infrastructure in the Baltic and Arctic basins provide for the development of port Bronka in Saint-Petersburg, construction of two terminals in Ust-Luga for transshipment of mineral fertilizers (Eurochem and BTU), reconstruction of container terminal in Baltijsk and construction of passenger terminal in Pionersk (Kaliningrad Region, the year of 2016 is to see the end of designing and the beginning of construction), completion of Sabetta port construction on the Yamal peninsula and comprehensive development of Murmansk Transportation Hub.

The projects in the Azov-Black Sea basin include the creation of Taman seaport dry-cargo area (first phase for annual transshipment of 40 mln t of coal, mineral fertilizers, grain and general cargo with a prospect to boost throughput to 100 mln t per year). There is also a plan to develop port infrastructure of Novorossiysk seaport and Delo Group’s terminals (if cargo base is confirmed the mentioned terminals are to increase transshipment by 20 mln t per year). Besides, OTEKO terminal for transshipment of 10 mln t of dry bulk cargo can be built in the Azov-Black Sea basin. The capacity of OTEKO terminal can be later increased to 35 mln t per year. Rosmorport is also designing a cargo and passenger terminal at port Gelendzhik and looking into construction of an ammonia terminal at port Taman. 

Major projects on port infrastructure development in the Far East basin include the construction of coal terminal’s Phase 3 at port Vostochny (Vostochny Port), Daltransugol project at port Vanino (up to 24 mln t per year), construction of coal terminal Sakha-Trans at Muchke Bay (10 mln t per year with a possibility to expand the capacity to 24 mln t per year), construction of coal terminal UPK Sever. This year Rosmorport is going to commence reconstruction of ferry terminals at Vanino and Kholmsk ports. Major terminals for development in Sakhalin are coal terminal in Shakhtersk and passenger terminal at port Korsakov. In Kamchatka, container and passenger terminal at Cape Signalny is to be built under the project on priority development.

The scope of dredging works in Sabetta makes 68.6 mln cbm in 2014-2017, Bronka – 10.4 mln cbm in 2014-17, Kaliningrad – 1.5 mln cbm, Vanino (coal terminal at Muchke Bay) – 1.5 mln cbm in 2017-19, Sukhodol – 7 mln cbm in 2017-21, Kozmino – 0.32 mln cbm in 2015-16, Taman – 45.4 mln cbm in 2017-30.

Rosmorport is also expanding its own dredging fleet. Andrei Lavrishchev says the Company will get 4 new dredgers this year. This will let Rosmorport execute up to 60% of maintenance dredging with its own resources without subcontracting. It is 1.5-2 times more efficient for Rosmorport to use its own dredging fleet instead of the subcontractors’ fleet. As of today, the Company’s fleet numbers over 20 vessels.

In 2016 Rosmorport is going to dredge 23.8 mln cbm of material. The scope of dredging works for construction of new facilities is to make 11.8 mln cbm of material, maintenance dredging – 12 mln cbm. The scope of maintenance dredging performed with the Company’s own resources is to make 6.1 mln cbm against 4.3 mln cbm in 2015.

Development of regulatory and legal framework will also facilitate implementation of dredging projects. According to Nadezhda Zhikhareva, Deputy Director of Transport Ministry’s Department of State Policy for Maritime and River Transport, the Order of the Ministry which is to come into force in August 2016 will set forth the procedure for holding a closed auction to sign preliminary agreement on supplies of bottom soil dredged during construction of facilities within inland waters and territorial sea of the Russian Federation.

A country of unique projects 

Despite the development of domestic dredging industry ambitious infrastructure projects cannot but need participation of companies known worldwide. As of today, Russian market sees almost all global brands of the industry: Jan De Nul, Boskalis, IDRECO, Dredge Yard, Van Oord, CCCC as well as related shipbuilding and engineering companies: BLRT Grupp, Neptune Shipyards, Nonius Engineering, Damen, Hydromec, Fertoing, Coralina Engeenering, IHC.

Port Sabetta on the Yamal peninsula is the largest dredging project and also a unique one due to extreme climate conditions. An enormous work has been done there over the last four years. In 2012-13, a technological channel was built there with the depth of -12.4 meters and the water area of the port for delivery of materials and equipment needed for construction of an LNG plant and a sea terminal intended for LNG transshipment. The scope of dredging works done in 2014 totaled 22.4 mln cbm (including 19.1 mln cbm dredged at the sea channel and 3.3 mln cbm dredged at the port’s water area). In 2015, dredging amounted to 12.5 mln cbm including 7.6 mln cbm dredged at the sea channel, 1.8 mln cbm dredged at the access channel and 3.1 mln cbm dredged at the port’s water area. This year is to see the completion of works under Phase I of the access channel and the port’s water area, the year of 2017 – complete development of the access and sea channels. Total scope of dredging at port Sabetta in 2014-2017 is estimated at 68.6 mln cbm.

As mentioned earlier, extreme climate conditions make Sabetta project a unique one. Experts say that dredging of permafrost soil in 2015 totaled 1.5 mln cbm which is a world record.

As Forum participants learned from Alexander Ivanyuk, Technical Director of Mordraga LLC, which is in charge of dredging at port Sabetta, the year of 2016 is to see dredging at the port’s water area up to -15.2 meters (Baltic System 77)and at the access channel up to -15.1 meters (Baltic System 77). The year of 2017 will see the completion of the second phase of the sea channel (up to 295 meters wide) and the access channel (up to 495 meters wide).

According to Artem Melnikov, Director of Fertoing Ltd.(one of Sabetta project contractors), federal facilities of port Sabetta will be completed according to the schedule.

Construction of Multipurpose Sea Cargo Complex Bronka (MSCC Bronka) in Saint-Petersburg is also among the largest projects. Access channel of MSCC Bronka consists of two straight parts. The point of turn and conjunction is to be widened. Radius of the channel turns is 945 meters, widening zone – 36 m. The dimensions of the port water area (width of operational area and the turning basin area) are defined in view of mooring operations and the turn of the largest expected vessel assisted by a tugboat.

Dredging activities were started there in 2013. Phase I of the access channel and the water area was completed in 2015. Last year the works were performed by CCCC (China) which mobilized the fleet from five countries (due to a long distance from China). Chinese ships executed one third of all dredging works. Operations were complicated with the existence of numerous underwater utility lines of a large city. According to Bronka representative, CCCC managed to fulfill all the tasks though Russia is a new market for the company. Total scope of works amounted to some 10 mln cbm. At the Forum port Bronka signed an agreement on dredging works in 2016 with Boskalis. The company has a many years’ experience of working in Russia.

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