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2022 January 28

Dredging and cleaning of Saint-Petersburg waterways

Image source: Ecostroy

In 2022, Saint-Petersburg Committee of Natural Resources, Environment and Ecological Safety will announce tenders for an unprecedented amount of about 1 RUB billion for dredging and cleaning of the city waterways. The key contractor in this segment is SUE Ecostroy subordinate to the City Administration. Private market players say such tenders  usually imply no competition while the works are overpriced in their opinion. Those interviewed by IAA PortNews attribute it to complexity of works in the city compared to other regions. 

Water protection measures planned in Saint-Petersburg for 2022 are estimated at about RUB 1 billion, which is a record-high amount of financing, ad hoc municipal committee told IAA PortNews. The major projects of 2022 will include the beginning of ecological restoration of the Novaya river, further activities on bottom cleaning at the Karpovka and Glukharka rivers, rehabilitation of the Nikolsky pond in Peterhoff as well as removal of floating litter from water bodies. In 2022-2023, the federal budget will finance the repair of hydraulic engineering facilities of the Kuzminskoye reservoir.

According to SPARK-Interfax, the order portfolio of Ecostroy totaled RUB 706.1 million in 2021. The share of Saint-Petersburg Committee of Natural Resources, Environment and Ecological Safety in it exceeds 90%. In 202, Ecostroy revenues totaled RUB 490 million, net profit – RUB 3.2 million. SUE Ecostroy owns 24 hydraulic engineering facilities, SPI Lenvodhoz — 102 hydraulic engineering facilities. 

The largest tenders, cleaning of the Glukharka river (RUB 247.3 million with the scope of soil cleaning estimated at RUB 63,300 cbm) and removal of sediment from the Nikolsky pond in Peterhoff (RUB 96.8 million, 18,000 cbm) featured also Didal-SK LLC (offered a 5-pct lower contract price) and Podryadchik LLC (offered an unchanged contract price). However, Ecostroy was acknowledged as the winning bidder. 

According to one of the market players, average price of cleaning 1 cbm of soil in such tenders is RUB 3,900-5,400. The works were estimated higher only for the Karpovka river (almost RUB 6,000 per 1 cbm) and for the ponds of the Farmer’s Park in Pushkin (RUB 5,900). In 2021, Ecostroy removed bottom sediments from over 3 km of Saint-Petersburg rivers and canals. The Committee says the length does not always correlate the amount of removed sediments. 

“In seaports, bottom cleaning works estimated at RUB 2,000 per 1 cbm are considered as very expensive ones”, said a source of IAA PortNews. According to experts interviewed by IAA PortNews, average cost of works in sea waters is RUB 1,000, at rivers — about RUB 300-400

Image source: Ecostroy

The recent tenders for works in the port of Vladivostok were estimated at RUB 1,300 per 1 cbm, on the Volga-Caspian Canal — RUB 357 per 1 cbm. 

Mikhail Strakhov, Deputy Chairman of the Committee, says that technical specifications of competitions for cleaning of Saint-Petersburg waterways require certain qualification, experience and production facilities from the potential contractors.

“Saint-Petersburg rivers and canals feature numerous underwater communication and utility networks which require creation of protection zones in case of proximity works. Reduced impact methods are used in such zones. For example, a hydromonitor is used to jet-break deposits at the bottom. In sections with no underwater utility lines, bottom sediments are removed by a dredger or an excavator”, Mikhail Strakhov told IAA PortNews.

Besides, the contract price is affected by transportation of soil to solid municipal waste fields in the Leningrad Region, some 40-60 km from the site, the source comments on the pricing. The Committee rebuts absence of competition in tenders of previous years and overpricing. “If the price is too high in the opinion of some market players, that should attract more bidders able to offer a lower price to win the competition”, says Mikhail Strakhov.

Image source: Ecostroy

The geographic location of Saint-Petersburg complicates the works, he explains.

“A dredger or an excavator remove bottom sediment and place it on barges. A KS boat makes a convoy of barges that is then towed by a tugboat to the deposit area. Challenging hydrometeorological and hydrological conditions such as up and down surge, strong wind, high water level that prevent passage of barges under bridges and exit to the water area of the port cause regular delays of bottom cleaning works. Those deadtime periods and their duration are hard to predict. Thus, bottom cleaning works at central rivers and canals of Saint-Petersburg can be conducted within a narrow range of water level and wind pattern conditions”, he explains.

When asked by IAA PortNews, Volga-Baltic Administration and the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency, confirmed the complexity of operations in the water area of Saint-Petersburg. 

In 2019, Saint-Petersburg Government’s economic bloc was involved in active discussion of inventory control of enterprises subordinate to Smolny (over 35 state unitary enterprises, SUE, operate in the city) with the regional branch of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). The authorities were going to convert some of SUE into joint stock companies, reorganize some into government entities having privatized or liquidated others. A list was developed with the time of amending the companies’ types. One of the scenarios envisaged the merger of Eostroy and Pilarn. The first one is engaged in management and disposal of hazardous waste in water areas, the other one – in response to oil spills. Part of their activities was to be incorporated while the merged enterprise was to made a government entity. However, after Yevgeny Yelin left the Administration in 2020, no activities were undertaken in that respect.  

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