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2019 November 19

Move or stay

Speculation about possible shifting of Rostov-on-Don port’s First Cargo District have intensified again although the regional budget has no resources for that purpose. Meanwhile, the stevedore is investing in new protection technologies. The situation is not unique being typical for many ports in Russia and worldwide.

Challenges of co-existence

The First Cargo District of Rostov Port JSC is located on the right bank of the Don river, higher than the railway bridge limiting the port operation. It is actually borders the center of the Don region capital.

Shifting of the company facilities to the Zarechnaya industrial area on the left bank of the Don river has been under active discussion for the recent 15 years. In summer 2018, the ex-head of the Rostov-on-Don administration Vitaly Kushnarev ordered to develop a roadmap for extension of the embankment on the right bank and for shifting the port.

In spring 2019, the media published information about roadmap according to which the transition of port facilities was estimated at RUB 3 billion. The document was not available in any open sources. The transition is hardly believed on the local level since the regional budget has no resources enough for that.

Rostov Port JSC numbers three cargo districts.

The First Cargo District (the Central one) numbers eight cargo berths and one passenger berth. A railway station, Kiziterinka, is at the exit of the port. The port accepts cargo delivered by railway and road transport and ships them by water. It handles mostly liquid bulk and packaged cargo as well as bi-bags. Coal and grain make the bulk of the cargo mix.

The port accommodates ships of up to 5,000 tonnes in capacity. The guaranteed draft of the FCD berths is 3.6 meters with 4.0 meters guaranteed at the other two cargo districts.

Storage capacity of the port is 100,000 tonnes. Annual turnover of Rostov Port JSC exceeds 2 million tonnes.

The First Cargo District also includes a customs and a border check points as well as a veterinary and sanitary control point.

According to Elena Kozina, deputy head of the company’s Financial Department, the port territory is limited, hence its development basing primarily on technological improvements. For example, the barriers installed at the coal terminal of FCD let increase the amount of accepted cargo by 10-12%. Besides, the company acquired new conveyor equipment to enhance efficiency of grain loading.

Taking into consideration, that the First Cargo District intended for coal transshipment is in the close proximity to the residential area, its shifting to the industrial area is logical, the more so as there is spare territory for port facilities there. Who is to pay for it and how is this to be realized is a different issue.

In general, coexistence of ports and cities is a pressing issue both in Russia and worldwide. There is a variety of solutions. For example, the port of Hamburg gradually decreases its operational territory giving place to urban development simultaneously raising the efficiency through introduction of new technologies. Expansion in the port of Riga was performed with shifting of coal handling facilities to the Krievu Isle, the port of Rotterdam obtains new territories by land reclamation, in Saint-Petersburg they build outer ports and discuss transition of port facilities to the city outskirts. There is a similar situation in Murmansk where relocation of coal transshipment to the left shore of the Kola Bay has long been under discussion while the stevedore invests in protection technologies. In the Far East, coal terminals are focused on introduction of the best available technologies.

Dmitry Tarasov, Chairman of Ecological and Environment Protection Committee, Association of Commercial Sea Ports, earlier said: “the key problem today is the coexistence of cities and ports which is to a great extent associated with setting sanitary protection zones an revising of regulatory documents: living quarters are approaching the long existing ports thus creating problems for their operation and hindering their development”.

Obviously, each decision should be made with consideration of local specifics while the regulatory framework needs improvements.

By Elena Tkacheva and Vitaly Chernov.