Representatives of marine and river industries comment on presidential address to the Federal Assembly
Representatives of marine and river industries and stevedoring businesses agree that the recent address of the Russian President to the Federal Assembly marked significant achievements of the industries though there are still challenges to be met, particularly at the highest state level, IAA PortNews correspondent reports from the Congress of Transport Workers of Russia, Moscow.
According to Aleksey Klyavin, President of Russian Chamber of Shipping, the President expressed a high opinion about the industry specific achievements that were possible through joint efforts of the Ministry of Transport, related associations, businesses and other stakeholders.
“The President marked that the capacity of Russian seaports has reached the record of 1,025 billion and we are proud to having done that through joint efforts. When speaking about those achievements we can distinguish real success in the Arctic development: it is suffice to recall everything done in Sabetta, that will let us increase cargo traffic in the Arctic... including liquefied natural gas the volumes of which will permanently grow. We all saw the unique tanker Christophe de Margerie loaded with LNG make her first voyage. Actually, shipping is a growth driver of the shipbuilding industry and innovations. Considerable, I would say breakthrough achievements, are seen in legislative regulations there”, said Aleksey Klyavin.
The President of Russian Chamber of Shipping specially marked the positive role of state measures to support shipping and shipbuilding including subsidies covering loan/leasing interest rates. They let increase the number of vessels registered with Russian Maritime Register of Shipping which currently numbers 1,150 ships with total deadweight exceeding 5 million tonnes.
However, Aleksey Klyavin said the share of foreign trade cargo carried by ships under the Russian flag is still low.
“Still, there are a lot of problems but joint efforts of the authorities and businesses can bring solutions. The main thing is to find efficient approaches allowing for the development of Russian economy, Russian fleet and Russian transport infrastructure”, said Aleksey Klyavin.
In his turn, Andrey Gorlenko, BoD Chairman at the North-Western Shipping Company, emphasized that water transport has seen considerable success in recent years.
“A lot has been done in the water transport sector in recent years, first of all, with the state support”, said Andrey Gorlenko. According to him, one of the key challenges of the industry which should be met at the state level, is the absence of well balanced tariff policy covering different types of transport.
As Konstantin Anisimov, head of Moscow River Shipping Company, told IAA PortNews, the President did not touch the issues of inland water transport since this segment is not large enough in terms of the country economy and has alternatives in other transport segments. Meanwhile, the issue of tariff policy balance really needs to be solved and the industry feels the support of RF Transport Ministry.
“We are really concerned about the bunker prices, which is the first problem, and about the balance between different types of transport – the second one. If this balance is not achieved, river transport can entirely disappear in ten years. Perhaps, cruise ships will remain if there are companies strong enough to build new ships – it is actually unaffordable taking into account the seasonal character of the segment. Generally speaking, everything is very difficult”, summarized Konstantin Anisimov.
Serik Zhusupov, Executive Director of the Association of Commercial Sea Ports, also marked the President’s words about the record high growth of Russian seaports’ capacity. However the emphasized that the recent five years have seen the growth of cargo turnover by 40% amid the capacity growth of 20%, which shows a breakthrough in stevedoring companies’ activities.
“Port operators should set themselves more ambitious tasks. We succeed in the competition and marine competition has no limits. Therefore, I am sure that measures undertaken by the government, first of all by the Ministry of Transport, will let us face even more challenging tasks”, said Serik Zhusupov.
The presidential addressed touched very significant and systemic issues. Dealing with them will allow for a technological breakthrough in the development of port industry in the Russian Federation, said Irina Olkhovskaya, First Deputy Director General of Port Management Company LLC running coal terminals of Rosterminalugol JSC and Vostochny Port JSC.
“For us, Russia’s largest stevedoring holding in the coal segment, it was very important to hear a message of the President on synchronized development of railway and port infrastructure. First of all, comprehensive and systemic approach of the President to long-term development of BAM and Transsib lines, expansion of throughput capacity which will ensure macroeconomic effect for the development of coal and port industries based on new technologies, - said Irina Olkhovskaya. - Expansion of BAM and Transsib and debottlenecking of infrastructure facilities will ensure the development of Russia’s coal industry and port industry which are showing fast growth today.
A very important issue of ensuring environmental safety was brought up in the presidential address. Vladimir Putin was speaking about gradual convertion to the best available environmentally friendly technologies.
Operation of Rosterminalugol and Vostochny Port comply with international standards for environmental safety, they use the best available technologies for coal transshipment. Moreover, modernization of dedicated coal terminals continues. In this context, Vostochny Port JSC has recently signed a three-party agreement on cooperation with the authorities of Primorsky Territory and Nakhodka Municipality.
In the framework of Vostochny Port’s Phase 3, the largest infrastructure project in the Primorsky Territory, we are applying the best available technologies that make it the most hi-tech project in the industry today”.
Among issues requiring solutions, ACSP representatives distinguished those associated with the legislation on natural monopolies in the part of stevedoring and port service companies, and with state border check points.
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