• 2015 August 24

    The devil is in the depth

    RF Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov sees one of the key problems of Russia’s port infrastructure in the deficit of deepwater ports, especially in the Southern Basin, that could be solved through the development of port Taman.

    Wide choice …

    Russia finds it hard to compete with foreign ports in the Azov-Black Sea Basin in handling of dry bulk and loose cargo. The depth of Ukrainian ports is up to 21 meters while there are no deepwater dry cargo terminals on the Russian side where Panamax or Capesize ships could be handled.

    “Analyses of Azov-Black Sea ports’ competitiveness in terms of permissible draught showed that the capacity of liquid bulk cargo terminals complies with the requirements of today’s ships while the dynamics of dry cargo facilities’ development does not meet the trends in the parameters of the most-needed types of vessels,” Maxim Sokolov said at the meeting on development of transportation infrastructure in Russia’s south chaired by RF President Vladimir Putin.

    According to the Minister, the deficit of dry cargo handling facilities will grow from 17 mln t in 2020 to 70 mln t by 2025–2030 if nothing is undertaken.

    There are two large scale port projects in Taman – creation of a dry bulk area and ORTEKO projects.  Besides, there are plans on port Novorossiysk development. The state has to get its priorities right amid the economic crisis and the budget deficit.

    As for the dry bulk area, this project is connected with the project on construction of a bridge across the Kerch strait in the part of a railway approach. At the meeting RF President said this strategic facility should be completed by the end of 2018.

    The advantage of the dry bulk area is also in its sufficient depth (-18 m), weather protection (wave protection structures), location outside residential area.

    Under the project documentation, total investments into Taman project’s dry bulk area project are estimated at RUB 220 bln including RUB 30 bln of budget allocations (mostly for wave protection facilities – RUB 22 bln). Those resources are to be allocated under the Federal Targeted Programme for 2019–2020.

    United Transport and Forwarding Company (OTEKO) also has ambitious plans in Taman. The company representatives earlier said it is to build a dry bulk terminal with annual capacity of 30 mln t including 20 mln t of coal, 5 mln t of ore and 5 mln t of sulphur. 

    Besides, the company plans to build a grain terminal capable of handling some 14.5 mln t of cargo per year including 12.5 mln t of export gain and 2 mln t of import soya and raw sugar.

    Both terminals are to be located near OTEKO’s Tamanneftegaz terminal.
    According to Maxim Sokolov, the cargo base of the planned terminals will be ensured by Russian and Kazakh companies. The grain terminal is under designing.

    Technological solutions of the above terminals provide for their construction and operation at the open territory.  “Consequently, there is a risk of weather conditions at the Black Sea making this port nonoperational or limiting its operation for a certain period of time …. some 50 days per year,” the Minister says.

    The information on Novorossiysk is less definite, says Maxim Sokolov. Investments required for the port are estimated at RUB 86 bln including RUB 60 bln from the federal budget (for dredging operations, construction of railway yard B in Novorossiysk and development of automobile approaches. “However, our federal programme does not fully cover this amount”, says the Minister. Investor’s allocations do not exceed RUB 25.7 bln.

    Taking into consideration the connection of Taman port’s dry bulk area with the Kerch strait bridge and lower volumes of federal financing required for implementation of the project located outside the residential area, which is also protected  against bad weather, Taman project seems to be a priority in terms of state support.

    To move on with its implementation it is necessary to announce a concessioner to sign agreements with the terminals investors and the investors of state property facilities, approach canals and hydraulic structures, says Maxim Sokolov.

    Nevertheless, to implement any projects in the Azov-Black Sea region, a comprehensive reconstruction of Maksim Gorky – Tikhoretskaya – Krymskaya section is required. Meanwhile, the resources allocated for that purpose are not sufficient, the deficit makes some RUB bln. Maxim Sokolov asked Vladimir Putin to make orders helping to settle this issue.

    Sophia Vinarova