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Roundtable on Northeast Asian security and cooperation convened

Asia-Pacific Journal of Marine Science&Education convened roundtable on Northeast Asian security and cooperation on May 5. The roundtable brought together scholars from ADM Nevelskoy Maritime State University (MSUN), Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS) and KMI (Korean Maritime Institute). Participants had many questions to discuss, given the global shifts that the region and world have experienced in recent months. The pandemic and the ongoing rivalry between the United States and China have been exacerbated by major changes on the Korean Peninsula, the Ukrainian crisis, open confrontation between the collective West and Russia, and new massive quarantine measures in China that have further aggravated the difficult situation in international logistics.

The Korean Peninsula has traditionally become one of the central topics of discussion. Since the beginning of 2022, several significant events have taken place there. North Korea has put an end to its voluntary moratorium on long-range missile launches. Since January, more than 10 missile test launches have been carried out, including at least three tests of intermediate and intercontinental missiles.

On April 25, a parade was held in Pyongyang to mark the anniversary of the Korean People’s Army. The parade not only demonstrated the country’s progress in nuclear and missile sphere, but also confirmed the obvious failure of the tough international sanctions imposed against the DPRK. Strategic weapons systems similar to those used by the world’s leading nuclear powers, including missiles with a hypersonic warhead, were demonstrated. Increased activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, Sinpo South Shipyard, and at Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center means that the DPRK can test both SLBMs and low-yield nuclear warheads for its tactical systems, and launch military satellites into orbit.

All this is happening against the backdrop of the transfer of power in ROK to the new president Yoon Seok-youl. Already during the election campaign he voiced his conservative position regarding relations with the DPRK and advocated more intensive cooperation with the United States and Japan. Particularly, he proposed redeployment of U.S. nuclear bombers and submarines to the Korean peninsula as well as resumption of joint military drills with the United States that had been perceived as a threat by the DPRK. All this does not contribute to the normalization of the situation around the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

The situation in the regional and global economy is probably even more pessimistic. Participants noted that the economy was objectively more inertial compared to politics, like wind and waves: a squally wind came up and subsided, but the waves caused by that wind still sink the ships and wash away the coast… International trade, still suffering from supply chain disruptions and the pandemic-driven global downturn, is currently experiencing blow after blow. The events around Ukraine have become a catalyst for the process of redistribution of the global logistics market, and the new lockdowns in China, striking in their scale, have finally unbalanced the system that had been built for decades. So, in April-May, more than 200 million people were simultaneously in full quarantine in China; 344 large merchant ships were waiting off Shanghai as of May 3. China’s “zero-tolerance” policy at a time when the rest of the world has largely forgotten about the pandemic cannot but raise questions about its true goals. At the end of discussion, the participants agreed that contacts between scholars and researchers from the NEA countries should continue regardless of the current political situation, because too much is at stake. It can be destroyed very quickly, but restoration will be long, painful and costly. Our region has long surpassed Europe in terms of economic indicators. Therefore, at least, we should not consider the West a “beacon” of politics, morality and culture and blindly accept its attitudes if they lead to real damage to economy and standard of living of the population of the NEA countries. And as practical steps, in particular, it was proposed to shift the focus to the development of ties between small and medium-sized businesses and the implementation of new projects, including in the field of tourism, environmentally friendly fuel, and agriculture.

Vladivostok Seaport Optimistic with Container Turnover in 2022

April 13 2022   

After the departure of foreign companies, the number of FESCO ship calls increased

PJSC “Vladivostok Commercial Sea Port” (VMTP), part of the FESCO Transportation Group plans to process 757 thousand TEU in 2022, said Mrs. Elena Kazarina, Director of VMTP Commercial Department. According to her, in the I quarter of 2022, the port container turnover grew by 10%.

“We plan to handle the same volume of cargo in TEU as in 2021 (757 thousand TEU – ed. note), there is a drawdown for a certain period of time, but by the end of the year it can be made up. The processing of the ships in the port has increased,” added Mrs. Kazarina.

The total cargo turnover of VMTP in 2021 increased by 16% (in tons) compared to the level of 2020: cargo transshipment amounted to 13.3 million tons, container turnover – 757 thousand TEU (+13%).

PJSC “Far Eastern Shipping Company” is the parent company of the FESCO group, a private transport and logistics company in Russia with assets in the field of port, railway and integrated logistics business. The Group owns VMTP, the railway operator “Transgarant”, and a 50% stake in the fitting platform operator “Russkaya Troika” (a joint venture with “Russian Railways”). FESCO manages about 36 thousand containers. The group’s fleet includes 20 transport vessels.

The main indirect shareholders of FESCO are Mr. Andrey Severilov – 23.8% of shares, Mr. Mikhail Rabinovich – 26.5%, Mr. Ziyavudin Magomedov – 32.5%. About 17% of the shares are owned by other minor shareholders or are in free float.

Source: https://portnews.ru/news/328024/ 

Logistics companies have found a way to circumvent EU sanctions

April 12 2022

The situation with the introduction of the fifth package of sanctions by the European Union worried logistics companies involved in import-export operations, but the situation is not too catastrophic, since the share of Russian and Belarusian carriers in the market for transportation from Russia to Europe and back was about 30%. Alexei Misailov, Business Development Director of “FM Logistic” in Russia, announced this on April 12 to REGNUM news agency. At the same time, according to him, even this share played a significant role, primarily in export shipments, and now many companies are looking for alternative options for maintaining existing routes.

“Currently, the use of transit countries (for example, Turkey, which, however, is longer and more expensive), is being considered, but the optimal solution seems to be one that would allow changing tractors at the border of Russia, Belarus and Europe. Legislatively, it is still possible and this measure will help to avoid a crisis in road freight traffic between Russia and the European Union,” the expert explained.

According to his estimates, it will take about two weeks to establish such seamless solutions between European, Russian and Belarusian carriers. In this case, the increase in delivery time will not exceed more than one day.

“Against the background of many days (4-5 days) of downtime at the borders awaiting inspection, this looks more than a compromise option. As for the cost of transportation, it can grow by 300-400 euros due to the use of border terminals for re-coupling trailers to new tractors,” Misailov added.

Recall that the EU stopped the passage of vehicles registered in Russia and Belarus from April 8.

Source: https://portnews.ru/digest/23116/

Sakhalin plans to build a shipyard in 2022

April 7 2022
The passenger and fishing fleet of the Sakhalin region will be replenished through the construction of a shipyard by the company, which is expected to start operating in 2022, governor of the Sakhalin Region Valery Limarenko told at the forum “Investment potential of the Kuril Islands” in Moscow.

According to the head of the region, the passenger and transport fleet, taking into account the implementation of shipbuilding projects, is sufficient for the needs of the region. This year the region received two ships that make regular transportation to the Kuril Islands. The construction of two more ships for the transport of trains on the Vanino-Kholmsk line is also expected.

In addition, the head of the Sakhalin Region added, that foundation stone for a shipyard is being laid this year together with Yumateks Rosatom. New shipyard will build tourist and coastal fishing vessels.

Source: https://portnews.ru/news/327749/

ExxonMobil freezes Far East LNG project

April 4 2022
ExxonMobil has frozen the Far Eastern LNG project in the port of De-Kastri, Governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Mikhail Degtyarev said on the air of the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station.
As reported earlier, Exxon Neftegaz Limited (ENL, subsidiary of ExxonMobil, operator of the Sakhalin-1 project) launched a tender campaign in February 2022 to select contractors for the Far East LNG project. The company announced the search for contractors to assess the quality of building materials, as well as the search for manufacturers of reinforced concrete products.
The construction of an LNG plant with a capacity of 6.2 million tons per year in the area of the village of De-Kastri in the Khabarovsk Territory is planned to monetize gas reserves on the Sakhalin shelf as part of the Sakhalin-1 consortium.
The cost of the Far East LNG project, according to the Ministry of Energy, is estimated at $4.2 billion. The launch is scheduled for 2027-2028.
On March 2, ExxonMobil announced its withdrawal from the Sakhalin-1 project, refusing to invest in Russia “in response to recent events.” The Sakhalin-1 project involves ExxonMobil – with a share of 30%, SODECO (Japan) – 30%, Rosneft – 20%, ONGC (India) – 20%. The total reserves of the project fields are estimated at 307 million tons of oil and 485 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Source: https://portnews.ru/news/327533/ 

Extraordinary Antarctica heatwave, 70 degrees above normal, would likely set a world record

By Caitlin Kaiser and Angela Fritz, CNN

March 28 2022

Scientists were shocked this month when a research station in Antarctica reported extraordinarily warm weather.

The temperature at Concordia Research station atop Dome C on the Antarctic Plateau — typically known as the coldest place on Earth — surged to an astounding 11.3 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-11.5 Celsius) on March 18.

The normal high temperature for the day is around minus-56 Fahrenheit (minus-49 Celsius), which puts the March 18 reading at close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (around 38 Celsius) warmer than normal.

If the World Meteorological Organization actually tracked this particular metric, scientists say it would likely set a world record.

While 11 degrees Fahrenheit is not warm by any stretch, it is unheard of for this part of Antarctica, and 70 degrees above average is similarly astounding.

It would be as if the high temperature in Washington, DC, on Monday — normally 61 degrees — was an unthinkable 131 degrees. In reality, the warmest it’s ever been there on March 28 was 85 degrees.

The coldest place on Earth?

Concordia’s temperature was a record for the highest temperature not only in the month of March, but an “absolute record” for any month, according to Etienne Kapikian, a meteorologist at Meteo-France, the French meteorology service.

And it wasn’t the only location to set record high temperatures that day.

Vostok, the Russian research base famous for logging the coldest temperature in the world, reported a high temperature of zero degrees Fahrenheit — 63 degrees warmer than the average for the day. The temperature shattered the station’s previous record for March by almost 27 degrees.

With more than 60 years of data, this record “is unheard of in the history of climatology,” according to a Meteo-France analysis.

The extreme warmth in Antarctica raises concerns about long-term effects on the ice, particularly if it persists. An ice shelf in Antarctica nearly the size of Los Angeles disintegrated within days of extraordinary warmth on the continent.

Commentary. One gets the impression that humanity today prefers to deal with momentary problems – the rights of the LGBT community, endless sanctions, “pandemics” (“we will all die!”), “cold” and “hot” conflicts, etc. The fight against global climate change has also become, in fact, another field of economic and political confrontation, in which technologically advanced countries seek to further increase their lead and bind the resources of third world economies to themselves, making them feel “guilty” for environmental pollution.

In fact, we do not really know how our small planet works, what happens in its core, on the ocean floor and in the atmosphere. Such anomalies as described in the article are quite possibly a reminder to all of us from the Creator: stop doing stupid things, move forward, develop knowledge.Otherwise, it will be too late…

TransContainer will launch a new multimodal service from China to Russia through the port of Vostochny

March 28 2022

PJSC TransContainer will launch a new multimodal service for cargo transportation from the Chinese ports of Taicang and Ningbo to the regions of the Russian Federation through the terminal of the Eastern Stevedoring Company. The service is focused on transportation of consumer goods from China for small, medium and large businesses in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk and other cities of Russia. The departure of the first ship from the port of Taicang is scheduled for early April. Transit time on the sea shoulder will be 3-4 days. Four departures are planned monthly on the route Taicang / Ningbo – Vostochny. Trains from the Far East to the regions of the Russian Federation will run on a weekly basis as part of the service. In the future, sea transportation will be additionally organized from the port of Ningbo, and delivery to Taicang from the ports of Qingdao, Xingang, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Xiamen will also be available.

Source: PortNews.ru

Will Russian oil go to Asia?

March 25 2022

The US has imposed an embargo on Russian oil imports. Deliveries to the EU countries in the near future are under a big question. However, Russian exports to other destinations have already started to grow. For example, this week Indian Nayara Energy oil refiner acquired Russian oil after a year-long hiatus, having bought about 1.8 million barrels of Urals oil from Trafigura trader.

Apparently, the countries that have not imposed sanctions against Russia will buy more of its oil. The obvious options for increasing flows are China and India. However, such a solution would require China to be ready to enter into the conflict with Western countries. The alternative is India, which is already increasing purchases of Russian oil. However, when supply flows change, inevitable difficulties will arise due to the limited capacity of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline and a significant increase in the cost of freight for transportation from ports in the European part of Russia. The redirection of Russian oil supplies from Europe to the Asia-Pacific region will double the average delivery time (from 15 to about 30 days), which will increase the need for tankers. The Russian fleet is able to independently provide only about a third of the sea transportation of oil and oil products. Russian tankers are more suitable for the transportation of crude oil. As for petroleum products, its fleet can transport only 17% of total exports. Due to the fact that Russian refineries are located mainly in the European part of the country, transporting oil products by tankers is more expensive than transporting crude oil, and therefore it is more difficult to redirect gasoline and fuel oil to Asian markets.

The search for new markets in this case will not be a problem: the most significant increase in demand for crude oil in the coming years is expected in Asia, primarily in China and the developing countries of the region. However, it will take some time to reorient the Russian oil industry to the east. In the short term the conclusion of new supply contracts, solving logistics issues and chartering tankers is expected, in the longer term, the implementation of new pipeline projects is considered. 

Source: PortNews.ru

The Company from St. Petersburg Won a Tender for Designing a Training Ship

February 12 2022   

The “Forss Technologies” company from St. Petersburg won a tender for creating a technical design for a training and production vessel at the request of the Russian University of Transport (Moscow).

The winning bidder must also provide an expert opinion on the cost of building the vessel and a positive certification by the Russian River Register of Shipping. The price of all works will be 27 million 600 thousand rubles.

According to the Terms of Reference, it is necessary to design a vessel with an overall length of no more than 58.3 meters, a width of no more than 12 meters, a side height of about 3.5 meters and a draft of no more than 1.8 meters. In addition, we note the requirement for the surface clearance, which should not exceed 8.6 meters. This is necessary to freely pass under the bridges within the city of Moscow.

Among other conditions is the classroom for 50 people with a modern multimedia educational complex and the possibility of its transformation for conducting workshops and scientific conferences with up to 90 participants.

The company from St. Petersburg became the only bidder announced at the end of last year.

At the same time, we note that the initial (maximum) price of the contract – 27 million 600 thousand rubles, which became final after the completion of all procedures, was formed taking into account commercial proposals from five different design bureaus.

The members of the commission who made the decision on the winner of the auction did not have any questions about the competencies of “Forss Technologies”.

The dynamically developing St. Petersburg’s company, founded in 2007, was responsible for the design of such vessels as a self-propelled passenger ferry (project 03770), a battery powered car/passenger ferry (project 03770_AKB) and many others. in recent years “Forss Technologies” has successfully completed 33 draft design and technical projects in recent years.

Source: https://www.korabel.ru/news/comments/peterburgskaya_kompaniya_poluchila_krupnyy_zakaz_ot_rossiyskogo_universiteta_transporta.html 

“GazpromNeft” and Japanese “Mitsui” Intend to Use Alternative Fuels in Sea and River Transport

February 15 2022  

“GazpromNeft” and the Japanese “Mitsui” trading and investment company signed an agreement of intent to implement decarbonization projects in Russia and the regions where the companies operate, says the press release by “GazpromNeft”.

The partners intend to develop innovative solutions for the implementation of CCS projects (“Carbon Capture and Storage”).

In addition, “GazpromNeft” and “Mitsui” plan to develop comprehensive projects for the production of “blue” hydrogen, as well as the use of alternative fuels in sea and river transport.

In addition, in 2021, “GazpromNeft” signed a number of agreements in the field of reducing CO2 emissions, hydrogen energy and improving the environmental friendliness of fuels with major metallurgical companies.

“GazpromNeft” PJSC and its subsidiaries is a vertically integrated oil company, whose main activities are the exploration, development, production and sale of oil and gas, as well as the production and marketing of petroleum products.

“Mitsui” is a global trading and investment company with a diversified business portfolio covering about 63 countries in Asia, Europe, North, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. The main areas of activity are the extraction of natural resources and minerals, energy, machine tool building, infrastructure construction and the chemical industry.

Source: PortNews