Author Archives: Admin

Plans to Build a New Railway Line from Yakutia to Magadan

19 August 2021

A joint expedition will take place to survey a route for a new railway line connecting Nizhniy Bestyakh (Sakha – Yakutia) with the city of Magadan on the coast of Okhotsk Sea. The stages of project implementation were discussed by the heads of ministries and representatives of the railway industry at the meeting chaired by Andrei Tarasenko, Chairman of the Government of Yakutia, reported the press service of Yakutia government.

Experts will determine where to lay the railroad and in which settlements to build railway stations. Preliminary, the length of the railway from the operating line Berkakit – Tommot – Nizhniy Bestyakh to Magadan will be more than 1.8 thousand km.

“It will not be a part of BAM or TSR, but one more new railway line going to Pacific coast. This is a large logistics project. First, such a railway line will reduce the cost of delivering resources to the northern regions. We will no longer be dependent on river navigation and winter roads. Secondly, the railway will provide an opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to develop and create additional jobs. This means more tax revenues to local and regional budgets,” said Mr. Tarasenko.

Maxim Lebedev, Deputy General Director of the Institute for Transport Economics and Development (JSC), noted that following the results of the expedition, the institute would prepare a preliminary investment feasibility study for the construction of the railway. The terrain specifics, presence of natural protected areas, length, presence of a sufficient cargo base and others are among the criteria for railroad construction  study.

The development of the railway infrastructure in the eastern part of Russia is a strategic goal, outlined by President Putin. As a whole, it is associated with the second stage of the expansion of the BAM and TSR, the major railroads in Russia. The construction of the new railway will also ensure the availability and development of industrial projects in the Far East and the Arctic zone.

Source: https://portnews.ru/news/317343/

Russia Will Be the World First to Get Autonomous Sea Vessels

August 18, 2021  “PortNews”

The State Duma (Parliament) of Russia is to adopt amendments to the Merchant Shipping Code and several by-laws regulating the use of autonomous vessels this fall. Several agreements of intent for the construction of more than 20 vessels of three series, equipped with autonomous navigation systems, have already been signed with selected shipping companies.

Today, autonomous navigation systems are being tested in real conditions on three ships at once. We are talking about the dry cargo ship ‘Pola Anfisa’ operating in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the ‘Rabochaya’ barge and the ‘Redut’ dredger (Black and Azov Seas) and the ‘Mikhail Ulyanov’ tanker in the Barents Sea. Most often, they work as usual, but periodically when the opportunity arises, they go to autonomous control mode.

“In the very near future, we are going to conduct demonstration voyages that will summarize these tests,” said Alexander Pinsky, “Marinet” general director.

According to the project, it is planned to complete the experiment on December 31, 2025. The tests will be carried out in 11 regions of the country, including St. Petersburg, Leningrad, Kaliningrad and Murmansk regions.

“The first route operated by such vessels will appear between Ust-Luga in the Leningrad Region and the ports of Kaliningrad and Baltiysk,” said First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Andrei Belousov. “In the future, after 2025, autonomous vessels will enter the ports”.

This project is especially important for the Kaliningrad region, said Dmitry Lyskov, head of the press service of the Kaliningrad regional government. According to him, the most optimal way of communication between the enclave and the “mainland” is the sea route. But. the ships working on it are very old and obsolete. The railway option is also far from ideal, since foreign “neighbors” make increased demands on it. For example, for a long time they prohibited the transit of trains with more than 50 people on board through their territory. Then this limit was increased to 250 passengers.

At the moment, air traffic is the most stable, but it is not able to cover all the transport needs of the region. Autonomous ferries of “Rosmorport” will solve this problem. Now they are on the final stages of construction, and one of them is undergoing sea trials. It is assumed that they will be able to go to sea in 2022. They have a chance to officially become the world’s first autonomous vessels, if they are not overtaken by two other Russian companies involved in this project.

Similar experiments were carried out by other countries. However, Russia, unlike its foreign competitors, has managed to organize the process in such a way as to fit into international maritime conventions without the need to revise them, which could take decades for approval. In other words, any Russian vessels, including autonomous ones, will comply with all the requirements of the IMO conventions.

Autonomous ships are frequently called ‘unmanned’, but this is not an entirely correct term, emphasizes Alexander Pinsky. Autopilot systems capable to plot a route for a vessel without human intervention appeared in the 1970s – earlier than on airplanes and cars. But, autopilot systems can only guide ships along a given trajectory. If there is any danger, for example, approaching another vessel, the autopilot will not be able to do anything.

Autonomous navigation systems, unlike autopilot, are able not only to identify a dangerous situation, but also to make changes to the route, and then give a command to the rudders and engines of the vessel for the necessary maneuver, or offer such solutions to the person controlling the vessel.

The main point of introducing such systems is to minimize the risk of human errors, which are the main cause of marine accidents and disasters. In addition, it will allow maritime shipping companies to save significant amounts of money. Maritime safety costs a lot of money. This is the installation of various technical means on ships, an additional crew on board, its training and certification. Given that there is a shortage of seafarers in the world, these costs are constantly growing.

According to Alexander Pinsky, autonomous navigation is currently the only way to improve the safety of navigation. Part of the crew can be moved to the shore, and this is already a considerable savings. Some positions on board the ship will simply become unnecessary, since many routine operations will be performed not by a person, but by automation. As a result, the number of crews can be reduced by about 25-30 percent. “We do not set goals to completely get rid of ship crews”, – the expert notes. “Some functions can be handled by machines, and some still require a human. For example, automatics will not be able to take care of passengers on board and rescue them in case of an accident. It also makes no sense to automate a number of technical functions, since it will be more expensive than the work of a person on board – we are talking, for example, about mooring or pilotage in the port. Yet at least one shift can be removed from the crew of the vessel.

Source: https://portnews.ru/digest/22628/

THE PENINSULA STANDSTILL: WILL THE PANDEMIC OPEN THE DOOR OUT?

Sergei M. Smirnov, PhD

The process of normalizing the situation on the Korean Peninsula, after the dramatic events of 2018, which gave hope for a quick and decisive success, is now at a standstill. We can hardly see any area where progress nay be achieved, to say nothing about a breakthrough. The COVID-19 pandemic has almost nothing to do with current situation.

Let us consider several factors that contributed to the development of a negative scenario.

The main disappointment, undoubtedly, is the failure of Washington’s “cavalry attack” attempt to resolve “overnight” the sluggish crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

First, this is the selfish policy of the countries that were once participants in the Six-Party talks. This term attributes to all countries without exception. The format of Six-Party talks is not mentioned by chance – formally, this mechanism still exists, career diplomats representing their states continue to imitate activities, calmly waiting for retirement benefits. Political scientists also periodically recall the Six-Party talks, elaborating on the possibility of its transformation into a permanent regional security structure.

The main disappointment, undoubtedly, is the failure of Washington’s “cavalry attack” attempt to resolve “overnight” the sluggish crisis on the Korean Peninsula.  In my opinion, ex-President Trump missed his historic chance when, at the summit in Hanoi, he applied not the wisdom of a true political leader, but the negotiation tactics of a corporate executive. However, Trump is actually a businessperson who had managed to occupy the Oval Office by chance, without going through any of the obligatory stages of public service. It was not worth insisting on the deliberately unacceptable conditions of “complete and unconditional renunciation of the nuclear program”; it was necessary to agree on a formal end to the Korean War and the conclusion of a peace treaty instead.  It was also imperative to involve the most interested party in negotiations with the DPRK – the Republic of Korea. That would practically guarantee Trump the Nobel Peace Prize and a second term in the White House.

The decisive steps of President Biden to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, which his three predecessors dreamed of but did not dare to do, inspire a certain optimism. Let us hope that the Democratic administration will act with the same rationality and pragmatism with regard to the Korean Peninsula. In the 1990s, it was under the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton that the US-North Korean relations moved off the ground and the “Framework agreement” on the DPRK’s nuclear program was concluded. The Republican majority in Congress later thwarted its implementation, but today the initiatives of the Biden administration are much easier to pass through the Capitol Hill.

President Moon Jae-in may have tried too hard to accommodate the unpredictable Donald Trump, and it is likely that the conservative South Korean establishment has successfully sabotaged the president’s attempts to force the process of national reconciliation in Korea.

The Republic of Korea has also not fully realized its chance to move closer to national reconciliation. The powerful impetus of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics with a single team of the two Korean states lasted a little over a year, and after the failure of the Hanoi Summit, RoK’s initiative seems to have dwindled. President Moon Jae-in may have tried too hard to accommodate the unpredictable Donald Trump, and it is likely that the conservative South Korean establishment has successfully sabotaged the president’s attempts to force the process of national reconciliation in Korea. In any case, Moon Jae-in’s tenure at the Blue House is ending, and he failed to do even the minimum necessary – to repeal the National Security Law or even the odious May 24 sanctions.

Beijing is quite happy with the current situation around the DPRK. One can only guess how much the Chinese leadership “contributed” to the slowdown of the 2018-2019 detente processes.

China is pursuing perhaps the most consistent policy towards the Korean Peninsula. Xi Jinping, who positions himself as a tough authoritarian leader, adheres to a strictly pragmatic approach to the DPRK. Beijing did not hesitate to support UN Security Council Resolutions 2270, 2321, 2371, 2375, imposing tough sanctions against North Korea, because they did not harm the Chinese economy, to some extent protected the PRC labor market from North Korean immigrants, and maximized North Korea’s overall dependence upon the PRC.

Beijing is quite happy with the current situation around the DPRK. One can only guess how much the Chinese leadership “contributed” to the slowdown of the 2018-2019 detente processes. In any case, China (Russia as well) defiantly ignored the ‘PyeongChang Spirit’ rallies that took place in South Korea after the Olympics. In the foreseeable future, Beijing will try to maintain a monopoly position on the DPRK’s foreign trade market, maintain stability and order in the North, ensure that no external force is used against Pyongyang and, at the same time, toughly suppress any attempts by the DPRK to diversify its foreign policy. In this regard, one cannot expect the emergence of new radical initiatives on the Korean Peninsula on the part of the PRC.

It seems that Japan is gradually moving towards a “New Isolationism”, which is facilitated by the peculiarities of the national mentality and the development of virtual reality technologies. A good example of this is the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, held in August 2021, with empty stands, closed borders and restrictions on sexual and personal interaction between the participants.

The policy of Japan towards the DPRK may also be called consistent. However, this “consistency” is distinguished by passivity and gradual withdrawal from participation in solving the most pressing regional problems. In fact, after the Koizumi-Kim Jong Il summit in 2002, Tokyo did not put forward a single real initiative to resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula. It seems that Japan is gradually moving towards a “New Isolationism”, which is facilitated by the peculiarities of the national mentality and the development of virtual reality technologies. A good example of this is the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, held in August 2021, with empty stands, closed borders and restrictions on sexual and personal interaction between the participants.

Russia‘s policy towards the DPRK is very peculiar. On the one hand, Russia had written off almost the entire national debt of the DPRK in 2014 without any real obligations of compensation on the part of Pyongyang. “Russian Railways” paid for most of the project cost to modernize the Rajin – Khasan railway, but since 2015 there has been no noticeable increase in freight traffic along this line. On the other hand, Russia did not use its veto right when voting on UN Security Council resolutions imposing tough economic sanctions against the DPRK. Moreover, the ban on the use of labor force from the DPRK abroad, introduced by these sanctions, is definitely not beneficial to Russia. North Korean construction and agricultural workers covered a significant part of the labor market needs in the Far East of the Russian Federation, and there is no one to replace them.

North-East Asia in the first half of the XXI Century is fundamentally different from Europe at the end of the XX Century, when Germany united and the Warsaw Pact collapsed. For Russia, the emergence of a unified Korean state should be regarded not as a threat, but as favorable opportunity in all respects.

Maybe it is worth agreeing with the opinion of some experts that for Russia, despite its declared ‘Pivot to the East’ policy, the North Korean affairs are considered secondary, and that Moscow has recognized the DPRK as the Chinese sphere of influence. Nevertheless, everything is much more complicated and confusing in this issue. The principle of ‘equidistance’ in relations between Russia and the two Korean states creates a good basis for maintaining the potential for “strategic mediation”. The attitude of the Russian Federation to the problem of the DPRK’s nuclear status seems to be rational and pragmatic. The same pragmatism Russia should apply in other areas, in particular, in the issue of national reunification, the signing of a peace treaty that puts an end to the 1950-1953 Korean War and in bilateral trade with the DPRK. North-East Asia in the first half of the XXI Century is fundamentally different from Europe at the end of the XX Century, when Germany united and the Warsaw Pact collapsed. For Russia, the emergence of a unified Korean state should be regarded not as a threat, but as favorable opportunity in all respects.

DPRK is not behaving very constructively, too. Indeed, there is a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and long-range ballistic missile launches, which is undoubtedly good. However, it is impossible to say with certainty whether the reason for the introduction of this moratorium was the desire to demonstrate good will to the world or simply the lack of available technical and financial resources to carry out these very costly activities. We observed an inadequate reaction on the part of Pyongyang in connection with minor incidents near the DMZ, for example, the demonstrative destruction of the inter-Korean communications center in Kaesong in June 2020. Propaganda and tactical considerations clearly prevailed over long-term strategic priorities, because such actions only contribute to the chances of South Korean conservatives (strongly opposed to the DPRK) to come to power next spring. Later, Pyongyang apparently realized that loyal partners in the South were preferable to outright opponents, and agreed to restore a “hot line” of communication between the two countries from July 27, 2021.

Pyongyang used the situation as an opportunity not to return home its citizens who fell under the aforementioned UN Security Council sanctions. However, the continuing complete closure of its borders plays against the DPRK today, making it impossible to develop economic ties and receive financial support from abroad.

Kim Jong-un’s policy regarding the COVID-19 pandemic also looks not very consistent. Some experts assessed the Kim’s decision of February 2020 to completely close the borders of the DPRK in connection with the outbreak of a new coronavirus infection in neighboring China as an act of statesmanship, which is probably highly exaggerated. At that time, there was absolutely no reason to believe that the countries of the world and international organizations would turn out to be so helpless and inadequate in their actions to neutralize the spread of a new viral disease. Rather, Pyongyang used the situation as an opportunity not to return home its citizens who fell under the aforementioned UN Security Council sanctions. However, the continuing complete closure of its borders plays against the DPRK today, making it impossible to develop economic ties and receive financial support from abroad.

Coronavirus pandemic as an external factor

When the thesis about the COVID-19 pandemic as some kind of existential threat to humankind became a dogma almost equal to the Tablets of Moses on Mount Sinai, other problems forcefully faded into the background. However, these problems have not gone away, they are completely real, objective and dangerous.

The role of the COVID-19 pandemic in the current stalemate on the Korean Peninsula can be assessed in different ways. On the one hand, national governments and international organizations have driven themselves into a corner, allowing the situation to unfold along the same inexorable logic that led to the outbreak of World War I more than a century ago. When the thesis about the COVID-19 pandemic as some kind of existential threat to humankind became a dogma almost equal to the Tablets of Moses on Mount Sinai, other problems forcefully faded into the background. However, these problems have not gone away, they are completely real, objective and dangerous. In particular, it is the threat of a full-scale armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula with many millions of potential victims.

North Korea today is highly unlikely to initiate aggression deliberately. It is necessary to understand that fanning the threat of a military attack by North Korea is a method of psychological warfare. Similarly, the DPRK population is being constantly frightened with the threat of “imminent aggression from the United States and their puppets in the South”. Both sides need to abandon the logic and rhetoric of the Cold War.

At the same time, the threat of major armed conflict escalating from possible incidents in the DMZ area remains high. Mutual nervousness arising from the decades-long confrontation along the border is the source of potential dangerous incidents, like the sinking of the ‘Cheonan’ corvette in March 2010.

doubts are growing about the feasibility of the Chinese ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, which gives Beijing too many levers of influence on trans-Eurasian transportation.

On the other hand, the current pandemic situation is forcing us to reevaluate the existing stereotypes and approaches to the development of cross-border economic ties. This mainly refers to the need to diversify global and regional networks of value chains, transport and logistics routes. Otherwise, unilateral restrictions on a certain logistics hub / seaport /border crossing point, introduced even under the most plausible pretext, can lead to the collapse of an entire industry or region. We have seen such negative cases in North-East Asia in 2020-2021 more than once. In this regard, doubts are growing about the feasibility of the Chinese ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, which gives Beijing too many levers of influence on trans-Eurasian transportation. At the same time, the diversification and implementation of spatial network-centric technologies opens a new window of opportunity for normalizing the situation on the Korean Peninsula – through the DPRK’s involvement in the creation of such network structures and new logistics routes. Necessary precondition – this involvement should take place on the basis of equal partnership and mutual responsibility of the parties, without any ideological pressure from outside, but also without blackmail or demands for a special treatment on the part of Pyongyang. Elaborating on the idea of ​​network-centric spatial development in North-East Asia, it may be worth considering specific options for involving third countries in inter-Korean reconciliation. Here, a variety of combinations of interaction in the economy, diplomacy, and humanitarian ties are possible. It is likely that it will be effective to stimulate the involvement of countries that have made the transition from a socialist model to a market economy. For example, of Mongolia, which is directly interested in the development of transport and logistics cooperation with the DPRK. The convincing victory of U. Khurelsukh in the June 2021 presidential elections in Mongolia inspires optimism in this regard: two years ago, as Prime Minister, he sought to actively contribute to the peace processes on the Korean Peninsula.

Round table on the Korean Peninsula was held by MSU(N) and GPPAC

Maritime State University together with Global Partnership for Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) convened an online roundtable on the Korean Peninsula on August 13. Scholars and NGOs from China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US took part in the discussion. The presentations by Korean speakers covered issues such as prospects of economic and social development of the DPRK in the conditions of the ongoing pandemic, Moon Jae-in’s policy and Inter-Korean relations. 

The very fact that round tables of such a kind are only possible in virtual format shows how pandemic has changed our world, way of life and communication. Not to mention negative impacts of ongoing pandemic on global economy, policy and international relations. It is impossible to find a country, which was not affected by global economic recession due to pandemic. As for the DPRK, its economy had been problematic and developing slowly due to the sanctions and pressure even before the pandemic. So it is logical to suggest that in the present situation when the borders are closed and all foreign trade is curtailed, the DPRK suffers from the economic crisis. It is evidenced, for example by mentioning another Arduous March by the country’s state media. Previous Arduous March of the end of 90s led to the grave economic crisis and even human losses. Of course, the DPRK could achieve some successes in its economy for the two last decades and could become less reliant on the external aid. At the same time since the DPRK closed its borders with China last year it has become deprived even of that modest aid. Voluntary self-isolation and natural disasters resulted in the food crisis in the country. Lack of advanced disinfection equipment and sanitizing frames on the borders makes it risky for the DPRK to open the borders even for the humanitarian aid. 

As for ROK, it can be considered one of the most successful country in terms of overcoming the pandemic. However, uncertainty remains around new president and administration who will assume the power in the country next March. This issue is especially important because new president in ROK usually declares a new course towards the DPRK and Inter-Korean relations. Since all the previous approaches to the DPRK reached impasse, the need for a new course is especially urgent. At the same time breakthrough in Inter-Korean relations does not solely depend on South Korean president. There are many other factors like domestic policy considerations in the DPRK, interests of China and allied relations between the US and ROK.

“Rosatom” Proposed to Develop a Large Container Transportation Corridor Based on the Northern Sea Route Waterways

August 5, 2021

The nuclear icebreaker fleet and all projects on the Northern Sea Route (NSR) are developing “even faster than we planned,” said Mr. Alexei Likhachev, Director General of the State Atomic Energy Corporation “Rosatom”, at a working meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 4, 2021. He addressed the President with a proposal to develop a large container transportation corridor based on the NSR waterways (as follows from the transcript of the working meeting published on the Kremlin’s website).

“We … see very serious growth in all three areas: this is the actual icebreaking support of our export projects – oil, gas, coal, metallurgical; this is, in accordance with your instructions, an increase in domestic cabotage, that is, transportation within our huge country, within the territory, along the Northern Sea Route; and we are counting on a large increase in transit, ”said Alexei Likhachev.

He stressed that Russian projects in this area are of great interest in the world. This is facilitated by the growth of world trade, and incidents like the one that happened in the Suez Canal.

“And we would like, with your consent, to start developing a large-scale container transportation corridor on the basis of our Northern Sea Route project. On the one hand, we will use the entire infrastructure of the NSR that has already been created, we are already spending money on it – both budget money and state corporations’ financial assets”, suggested Mr. Likhachev.

“On the other hand, this is a completely new level of business, a completely new level of economic positioning of both the “Rosatom” state corporation and our entire country. Moreover, this is an objective benefit for the world economy. In this sense, we see certain possible deficiencies in icebreaker support, we have prepared appropriate proposals, and we will present them to you today”, he noted. “Rosatom” is the unified infrastructure operator of the Northern Sea Route in accordance with the “NSR Infrastructure Development Plan until 2035”, approved by the government of the Russian Federation.

Source: https://portnews.ru/news/316649/

FESCO Started Seasonal Cargo Transportation to Chukotka

August 3, 2021

FESCO has started seasonal cargo transportation from the ports of China and the USA to Chukotka as part of the FESCO “Arctic Line” (FAL) container liner service.

The first ship departed on August 1 on the route Taitsang (PRC) – Provideniya – Pevek – Provideniya – Yantai (PRC). It will transport over 14 thousand tons of cargo, reported the FESCO press service. The operation of the line will be provided by multipurpose ice-class vessels ‘FESCO Ulysses’ and ‘FESCO Paris’, which will make four voyages from July to October inclusively and will deliver about 45 thousand tons of cargo. In China, the ports of call of the line are Qingdao, Taitsang and Yantai, in the USA – Everett, and in the Far East of the Russian Federation – Provideniya, Pevek, Vladivostok, Vostochny.

More than 1 thousand TEUs, as well as about 10 thousand tons of flotation concentrate was transported in 2020 in the framework of FAL. It complements the existing service of the FESCO “Anadyr Direct Line” (FADL), connecting the port of Vladivostok with the ports of Chukotka – Anadyr and Egvekinot.

FESCO Transportation Group Is one of the largest private transport and logistics companies in Russia with assets in the port, railway and integrated logistics business. FESCO’s diversified portfolio of assets allows for door-to-door delivery of goods and controls all stages of the intermodal transport chain. The group owns the Vladivostok Commercial Sea Port, the “Transgarant” railway operator, and the “Russian Troika”, an operator of fitting platforms. FESCO operates dry terminal complexes in Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk and Tomsk. The Group manages about 50 thousand containers; the fleet of fitting platforms is more than 7 thousand units. The Group’s ship assets include 18 transport vessels, which mainly operate on its own sea lines.

Source: https://portnews.ru/news/316546/

It Is Important for the Amur Shipyard to Enter the Asia-Pacific Markets – Mikhail Mishustin

July 28, 2021

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin visited the “Amur shipyard” (ASZ, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Khabarovsk Territory, part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation). He examined the ships under construction in the slipway shop and on the pier. Addressing Mr. Vladimir Kulakov, ASZ director – general, PM noted that it is important to enter the markets of the Asia-Pacific region. This was reported by the press service of the Russian government.

“Of course, we need to make our combat vehicles not only for the Army, but also for the Navy. You can handle it. You construct small missile ships and corvettes. To date, the required maintenance for these ships has been put into operation. However, it is very important … to diversify the production line. In the segment of civil shipbuilding, these are, in particular, search and rescue vessels. You are already doing such projects. In addition, ferries as well. Quite serious projects that make it possible to connect Sakhalin with the mainland on the Vanino – Kholmsk line. In fact, it is the most important element of transport accessibility and transport logistics. In general, the production of such vessels may be interesting for our relations in the Asia-Pacific region. It is very important, of course, to enter this market, to make appropriate proposals”, said the Prime Minister.

The Amur Shipyard was put into operation in July 1936. Over its 85-year history the plant has produced more than 300 ships and vessels for various purposes. 57 nuclear submarines, 41 diesel-electric submarines, 56 surface warships were built for the Navy. The intermediate repair of eight submarines and two floating technical bases for recharging reactors conducted. 155 vessels and ocean engineering structures including icebreakers and icebreaker-type vessels, dry cargo ships and rescue vessels for servicing the oilrigs were built for civilian customers.

Today, PJSC “Amur Shipyard” is the largest full-service shipbuilding enterprise in the Far East of Russia.

The enterprise has begun a comprehensive reconstruction of its production facilities, aimed at a qualitative and quantitative increase in production volumes.

Source: https://portnews.ru/news/316276/

From China to Europe: ‘Silk Road’ Cargo Transportation

July 21, 2021 “Kommersant.RU”

Today, this transport corridor connecting China with the EU countries is actively developing, the volume of cargo transportation is constantly increasing. At the same time, all types of transportation and, in particular, automobile transportation, are complicated by a number of factors, which were described by representatives of Russian transport companies.

Trade disputes and delays at border crossing points (BCPs)

Vladislav Martin, Head of Rail Transportation in the EU and China Regions of the AsstrA Group:

 – China’s logistics has continued to develop for more than a year. At the end of 2020, we saw the consequences of this process: China ousted the United States from the position of the main trading partner of the EU – the total trade between the EU and the PRC amounted to 586 billion euros. The European Union exported goods and services to the PRC for 202.5 billion euros (+2.2% in annual comparison) and imported goods for 383.5 billion euros (+ 5.6%). Foreign trade turnover with the United States fell to 555 billion euros, with exports falling by 13.2% and imports by 8.2%. In addition to the coronavirus crisis, trade disputes between China and the United States and Europe, in which all parties imposed customs duties, had a negative impact on transatlantic trade.

    In recent months, we have seen an active increase in the number of road transportation on the China-EU route. We can say that demand exceeds supply, but the situation in this market is perhaps as unstable as in the market for sea, rail and air transportation. It has become simply impossible to guarantee the delivery time, in some places delays at border crossing points can be from 10 to 30 days, and therefore the attractiveness of vehicles is completely leveled. In some cases, the transit time may be the same or even exceed that of sea transport. At the same time, the tariffs for delivery by sea or by rail are one and a half times lower than road. Of course, all this has an extremely negative impact on production planning and the organization of supply chains in general.

    The reasons for the instability in the Chinese logistics market are quite simple. For container trains, this is a large workload at BCPs, associated with an increased volume of traffic, as well as a low level of exports from the EU countries to China. The situation is aggravated by the fact that Chinese companies give priority to returning empty containers to China, reducing the priority of exports from the EU. This entails difficulties with the return of railway fitting platforms at the borders of China with Kazakhstan and Russia.

    In the case of road transport, the main reason is the epidemiological situation. At some BCPs (for example, Pogranichny-Suifenhe, Pokrovka-Dunning and Turiy Rog-Mishan), only 20-40 vehicles pass dayly. At the same time, the throughput capacity of, say, the Kukuryki-Kozlovichi automobile BCP between the Republic of Belarus and Poland in two directions is about 2 thousand trucks a day.

    However, there are other negative factors affecting transportation by all modes of transport. For sea and rail shipments, the main, but not the only ones, are the lack of containers, high demand, overbooking (lack of seats on ships) and a number of others. As a result, the schedule of containerships departure is more and more delayed and postponed. As for the railway, there is no less problem – border crossing. Delays at the Erenhot-Zamyn-Uud, Manzhouli-Zabaykalsk, Alashankou-Dostyk BCPs can be up to 7 days. The border crossings, located even further to the East, are even more loaded, since they serve the flows of cargo not only to EU, but also to Russia and Belarus.

    The “factor of the Suez Canal”, which exacerbated the already difficult situation in the container transport market, still continues to exert influence. There is no reduction in freight rates, and seats on ships and trains are sold at lightning speed at any price. New negative factors are also emerging: the recent blockage of the Yantian port led to another logistical collapse, even more serious than the accident of the ‘Ever Given’ in the Suez Canal.

    Due to the fact that deliveries to the Russian Federation from China by rail could last for 40 or 50 days, some customers redirected their cargo flows to the sea and, in particular, to the port of Yantian. A new coronavirus outbreak in the southern province of Guangdong (one of the main points of global trade) has led to the closure of this port in Shenzhen from May 25 to May 31. Yantian was partially opened in early June, but only at 30% of the total capacity. The companies immediately tried to transfer their cargo flows to the ports of Shekou and Nansha, which led to their overload. In this regard, there were large delays in both deliveries and dispatches – up to two to three weeks. The problems with the availability of empty equipment in China must also be considered. Two huge container ports – Shenzhen (the third largest container port in the world, handling 13.3 million TEU a year) and Guangzhou (the fifth largest container port in the world, handling 15.6 million TEU a year) were almost completely blocked. According to average estimates, the consequences of this blocking, if mitigated by the end of the summer, will be felt at least until the end of 2021.

    The problem here also lies in the fact that rail transportation cannot be a full-fledged alternative. The current level of supply can hardly meet the market demand, and additional services will not be able to cope with the load. Those containers that are already in Yantian cannot be moved to another port, in particular due to strict Chinese legislation: customs documentation is issued for leaving a specific port, and it is almost impossible to make changes or issue a new document.

    Restrictions on the movement of trucks and lockdowns in areas around the ports of Huangpu and Foshan also affected rail transport. Warehouses located in the southern region of China have also come under insulation, making it difficult to find vehicles to leave. Hong Kong took over part of the cargo volume, but this did not improve the situation. Legal restrictions make it difficult to transport goods from China to Hong Kong for further transit to other countries, for example, to Poland. Drivers require a negative COVID test to enter all these ports, which also does not make life easier for transport companies.     The above situation will cause further delays in deliveries and their rise in prices for various scarce groups of goods: microcircuits, electronics and similar products, as well as others. Rates are set to rise and no improvement is expected anytime soon. It is likely that the situation with the blocking of the port will affect sea supplies and sea freight rates even more than the incident in the Suez Canal. Of course, this will also have an impact on the increased demand in the field of road and rail transport, however, unfortunately, the supply on the market does not meet the requirements of the customers.

Source: https://portnews.ru/digest/22556/

The Khabarovsk Territory Is Considering a Project to Build a Large Port in the North of the Region

July 21, 2021

Investors are considering the possibility of building a port in the north of the Khabarovsk Territory, where a private railway will be constructed. This was announced by the Acting Governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Mikhail Degtyarev during a direct line.

“One of the companies plans to build a private railway to the Pacific Ocean, to the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, to the Chumikan region, not to Chumikan settlement itself, in any case, just nearby.

To build a seaport with 30 million tons capacity, in a deserted place, without harming the environment. A major investor, we certainly support this project, because these are jobs, these are cargoes, this is the generation of huge money and taxes to the region”, Degtyarev said.

The railway, according to him, was tentatively named as “Pacific”. This will be the northernmost railway line.

In early July, the proposal of the “ElgaUgol” company to build a railway line from the ‘Elginskoye’ coal deposit to the Okhotsk Sea coast was disclosed. Mr. Oleg Belozerov, the head of “Russian Railways” announced this during a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the government. “Russian Railways” are currently considering this project. The ‘Elginskoye’ coal deposit located in Yakutia is one of the largest in the world. The reserves of the deposit, according to the JORC classification, amount to 2.2 billion tons of coking coal.

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