On July 13, an expert round table “Transport and logistics system of the Far East of the Russian Federation in the realities of 2022: problems and development tasks” was held at the Maritime State University. The round table was organized by the Science and Education Center for Marine Transport and Spatial Logistics and Editorial Board of the “Asia-Pacific Journal of Marine Science & Education”. It was attended by leading scholars and professors of MSUN, FEFU, FEMRI, FEB RAS and representatives of the logistics and tourism businesses.
A welcoming address to the participants of the round table was made by Assistant of MSUN Rector for Research Mikhail Kholosha and coordinator of the transport section of the UN Development Program “Greater Tumangan Initiative” (GTI) Sergey Khidirov. This was followed by eight presentations by experts in various fields.
The dynamics of global events has recently accelerated sharply. This was initiated by the COVID-19, or rather, by not always adequate and coordinated actions of international organizations and individual states to fight the pandemic. The economy is more inertial than politics, and the negative effects of endless lockdowns and quarantines have resulted in a global logistical crisis, disruption of supply chains, which destabilized the world economy, caused a sharp increase in energy prices, a failure in the supply of electronic chips, and much more. Economic crisis, in turn, exacerbated security concerns in a number of regions of the world, resulted in the growth of extremism, terrorism and violence (for example, the unprecedented assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan), the bankruptcy of entire states (Sri Lanka). Among these trends, the campaign of unprecedented anti-Russian sanctions by the West stands out, which, instead of resolving the conflict situation around Ukraine, lead to an aggravation of the energy crisis and, possibly, to the development of an even more dangerous global food crisis.
The participants of the round table discussed geopolitical challenges and problems of regional security not for the sake of abstract theorizing. In today’s world, everything is interconnected, and a crisis in Europe could ignite dormant hotbeds of conflict in East Asia, where the main centers of world industrial production are located. One does not even want to think about the civilizational consequences of such a scenario.
At the same time experts believe that the situation in our pragmatic and rational region remains stable so far. Despite Japan and South Korea formally joining anti-Russian sanctions, their businesses, which are interested in working with Russian partners, are looking for workarounds and continue cooperation. The prospects of the DPRK coming out of self-isolation and launching mutually beneficial transport and economic projects with its participation have been identified. The volumes of container traffic between the ports of the Russian Far East, India and the ASEAN countries are growing. The participants of the GTI program confirmed their intention to continue joint work on the development of the transport system in Northeast Asia. Therefore, the skeptics who claim that only China is able to save the Russian economy are wrong. In fact, there is no need to “save” something that feels good enough on its own.
During the round table discussions, specific positive examples of creating new logistics routes, real import substitution in the field of transport and port activities were mentioned.
At the same time, experts stated, the reorientation of the Russian transport and logistics system from the Western to the Eastern direction is a very difficult task. It cannot be solved by financial injections alone. We will be overcoming the consequences of the mistakes of the past “well-fed” years for a long time to come, in particular, the dominant position of coal exporters in the transportation market of the Eastern Railway Range and in the seaports of the Far East. At the same time the grain export terminal, which is so much needed today, was never built. It should be noted that in recent months, Russian logisticians have been able to create several cross-border routes for the transportation of grain to NEA, including inland waterways, however, a task of building specialized offshore grain terminal still remains.
Based on the results of the round table, a special thematic issue of the “Asia-Pacific Journal of Marine Science & Education” will be prepared, and, as the participants suggested, practical recommendations will be formulated for improving transport and logistics system in the Russian Far East. The practice of holding scientific and practical events on this topic will be continued this fall, probably in an expanded format.
Science and Education Center for Marine Transport and Spatial Logistics