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JSC «Marine terminal “Coalstar» invests 60 billion rubles in the construction of the seaport “Aurora” in Primorye Region

The project ought to be implemented by 2030

January, 10, 2022

JSC “Marine Terminal Coalstar» developed a declaration of intentions to invest nearly 60 billion rubles in the construction of the seaport “Aurora” with the power 35 million tons. According to the press-office of Primorye Region government, the object is planned to be located in the vicinity of “Bezimyannaya” (Russian word for “Nameless”) cove near Dunai village.

“The marine terminal approximate production is 35 million tons per year. Planned period of project implementation is 2025 – 2030. Production process will require almost 450 new jobs” – there was told in the Ministry of Transport and Road Management of Primorye Region.

The project ought to be implemented by 2030. The construction of the seaport will create almost 450 new jobs. 

In addition to the construction of the port, the transport infrastructure will be reconstructed to service the new capacities. In particular, “Russian Railways” has already issued technical specifications for designing of port’s railway track junction to Smolyaninovo-Dunai section of the Far Eastern Railway.

Experts note that this will be a modern production which meets all necessary requirements of environmental and industrial safety.

The new port will give the positive impact to development of territories not only of Fokino town and Shkotovsky district, but also of the entire south of Primorye,” it was noted in Primorye Region government. 

Source: Port News

Arktika icebreaker navigated a vessel with cargoes for the Baimsky mining and processing plant to Pevek

10 January 2022

The nuclear-powered Arktika icebreaker accompanied the Polar King motor ship with cargo for the Baimsky mining and processing plant to the Chukotka port of Pevek, Chukotka Governor Roman Kopin said.

“This is the third ship accompanied by the world’s most powerful nuclear icebreaker to the northernmost city of Russia. Polar King delivered equipment and materials for the key development project of the region – Baimsky mining and processing plant. There are 4,000 tons of general cargo and containers of individual entrepreneurs on board.” – Kopin said on Monday in his official social network account

The Pevek administration reported that the Yury Arshenevsky ship and the Engineer Trubin motor ship, accompanied by the nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika and the diesel-electric icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn, arrived in Pevek in early January, but strong winds prevented the ships from unloading quickly.


The first international laboratory of autonomous and smart ships established

17 November 2021

An agreement was signed to establish the first international scientific laboratory of autonomous and smart ships. This was announced by the deputy minister of Transport of the Russian Federation Alexander Poshivay during a conference on autonomous navigation within the framework of “Transport Week – 2021” on November 17. 

According to the deputy minister, the founders of the laboratory are the Russian University of Transport, Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Harbin Engineering University.

As a reminder, the 1st International High-Level Forum on Intellectual and Autonomous Ships was held on November 16-17. The event was held in the format of a video conference.


We live in a strange world – II

Dr. Sergei Smirnov, expert of Center for maritime transport and spatial logistics

Exactly one year has passed since my first comment on the impact of the new coronavirus infection on human civilization appeared on this site. I have to admit my obvious limitations as an oracle. Like the vast majority of earthlings,

I remembered too well the Hollywood plots when a magic vaccine created by the titanic efforts of WHO and the best scientists beats deadly pandemic, millions of people happily wait for their vaccination and finally, the dawn of a new day rises over the renewed world, which for sure will be better and happier than yesterday.

Reality, however, as usually, turned out to be much more mundane, sad and contradictory. WHO distinguished itself by its helplessness and inconsistency. Until now, they have not been able to even develop a unified methodology for testing and assessing the presence of immunity against COVID-19. By the “titanic” efforts of the pharmaceutical giants, a vaccine appeared, and not single, but a whole dozen. However, the bad virus continues to spread, mutates, masks the symptoms and kills. In general, it behaves like a normal ARVI, a fact that ordinary doctors initially had to clearly understand. Governments, with varying degrees of demonstrated concern (depending on domestic political considerations and the peculiarities of national mentality) continue to tirelessly protect their fellow citizens, gradually depriving them of civil rights and freedoms using high-tech methods. However, all this was quite to be expected.

I suggested that the pandemic would soon fade away, one way or another, and we would all have to face the many traditional and unconventional security threats again. Like the international terrorist organizations taking advantage of the new reality and start practicing bioterror methods. None of this has happened so far.

A year ago, I suggested that the pandemic would soon fade away, one way or another, and we would all have to face the many traditional and unconventional security threats again. Like the international terrorist organizations taking advantage of the new reality and start practicing bioterror methods. None of this has happened so far. With the pandemic, everything is clear; it will stay with us for a long time. The emergence of the AUKUS alliance, strange to the point of irrationality, should not be considered a threat to stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region. It is in no way capable of playing the role of “Asian NATO”, its creators put completely different meanings into AUKUS. The terrorists, represented by the Taliban, seem to have succeeded, seizing power in Afghanistan without a fight in August 2021. However, it was not their merit. It happened only because a new president finally appeared in the White House, who was determined to end the absurd, but extremely expensive 20-year messianic adventure in the Middle East.

The real threat to peace is emerging in the economic sphere, more precisely, in international trade. Its contours and scale is not yet fully understood, but tectonic shifts may arise if we neglect it. I mean the progressive imbalance in the international logistics system caused not by the pandemic as such, but by the “fight” against it.

Honestly, I was mistaken with the security forecasts. Moreover, if one my mistake was with a “plus” sign, then the second – an unambiguous and big “minus”.

The real threat to peace is emerging in the economic sphere, more precisely, in international trade. Its contours and scale is not yet fully understood, but tectonic shifts may arise if we neglect it. I mean the progressive imbalance in the international logistics system caused not by the pandemic as such, but by the “fight” against it.

The crisis in logistics led to a creeping rise in prices for foodstuffs, building materials, metal products, timber, natural gas … it is easier to list what did not rise in price.

A year ago, we noted with satisfaction that maritime transport, which accounts for almost 90% of world trade, has passed the test of the first COVID lockouts with relative excellence. Then the world economy began to gradually recover, this process was very uneven in different countries. Since November 2020, a shortage of container capacities began to appear, the planned delivery time of goods was disrupted, the cost of freight increased, etc. We hoped that these were temporary troubles, that the system would restore the normal rhythm of work, let’s just wait a little bit.

A year has passed, and these problems have only worsened. The crisis in logistics led to a creeping rise in prices for foodstuffs, building materials, metal products, timber, natural gas … it is easier to list what did not rise in price. It is important to understand that the volumes of production and transportation have remained practically unchanged. The most complex system of international logistics, under the influence of managerial decisions of state bodies, could not keep in a state of self-regulating stability. It is only unclear whether the “red line” of destructive no return has been already crossed.

A special responsibility today lies with China. It is no secret that a number of unpredictable unilateral actions by China aimed to protect against the spread of coronavirus infection within the country have caused the major turbulence in the global logistics market.

The globalized economy seems to have learned how to deal with financial crises. Today we are dealing with a threat of a different nature. I am afraid that the patented recipes of economists – Nobel laureates will not help here. It is necessary to admit the fallacy of many management decisions, to coordinate as far as possible the anti-COVID policies of different countries and international organizations, to wait and pray that the mechanisms of the market economy will help to recover once more.

Fairly, I should note that the collective West bears its share of the blame for the current crisis, and a very significant one.

A special responsibility today lies with China. It is no secret that a number of unpredictable unilateral actions by China aimed to protect against the spread of coronavirus infection within the country have caused the major turbulence in the global logistics market. The No. 2 world economy, firmly determined to become the No. 1, and the main “global factory” cannot afford to isolate itself and make serious decisions without calculating their consequences for the development of external relations. You simply cannot obtain the status of a global superpower without taking responsibility for others. The domestic economic situation in China is rather complicated today. An attempt to reorient towards domestic consumer market to the detriment of foreign economic relations is likely to be doomed to failure.

Fairly, I should note that the collective West bears its share of the blame for the current crisis, and a very significant one. By turning on the cash printing machine and generously appeasing its own population, the West does not solve the problem, but removes it from sight, thereby aggravating the situation with the growing imbalance in global logistics. “Industry 4.0”, “green energy” – all this is great. However, we may not live to see this bright future…


Mikhail Kholosha,  Sergei Smirnov, Russia Gotov Dugerjav, Mongolia

In early 2020, transport and logistics experts from Russia, China, South Korea, Mongolia and Japan took part in a large-scale research project to analyze the reasons for the insufficient functioning of the international transport corridors (ITC) in the “Greater Tumen Region” and to develop proposals to overcome existing bottlenecks in regional logistics.

Initially, the concept of creating ITCs was based on the fact that a cross-border corridor is not just a dogmatically understood transport route serving freight flows of bilateral trade between neighboring NEA countries. The ITCs were supposed to become an effective mechanism for strengthening regional integration, optimizing land and sea routes, ensuring the smooth movement of transit cargo through the territory of the countries participating in the GTI program  Unfortunately, this concept has not yet been fully implemented.

ITCs are a set of separate transport routes today, in some places interconnected, but not united into a regional transport and logistics network. ITCs are rigidly tied to specific transport hubs (border crossing points – BCP, seaports) and serve fixed traffic flows. If difficulties arise at one ITC, its cargo flows cannot be painlessly redirected to another route.

The following factors generate organic flaws in the concept of individual ITCs:

  • NEA countries in contrast to, for example, the European Union, have great differences in geographic location, economic development, political system, demography, religion, language and writing. This cannot but affect their strategic priorities and approaches to regional transport and logistics integration. For example, the Republic of Korea and Japan are isolated from continental transport routes and are forced to look for complex options for the delivery of export-import cargo. China experiences significant imbalances between the economically developed South-East and the landlocked North-Eastern provinces included in the GTR. Mongolia as a land-locked country is completely dependent on its “great” neighbors for the transportation of foreign trade goods. The DPRK, which traditionally follows its own unique path, is not yet ready for even the minimum level of cooperation in the field of transport and logistics, although its contribution could be very significant. Russia is probably the only GTI member that, in principle, is not interested in expanding access to transport communications of its NEA neighbors for the delivery of its own cargo, but needs to attract a foreign cargo base and investments to integrate into the regional economy and modernize domestic infrastructure.
  • GTI participants develop their internal transport communications and logistics infrastructure based on their own priorities and goals. This does not always take into account the needs and specifics of neighboring states, especially the problems of the development of supranational (regional) economic structures. This is reflected in the disproportionate development of trans-border communications and service infrastructure on different sides of the common border, different procedures for customs, immigration and other types of control of goods and passengers, sometimes in the appearance of suspicion and misinterpretation of the actions of the other side, causing inadequate “response” measures. The latter circumstance, in particular, hinders the implementation of the Chinese ‘Belt & Road’ initiative.
  • Continuing the above issue, one cannot but mention the unresolved problem of lack of proper coordination between neighboring parties in terms of design, construction and modernization of transport infrastructure and BCPs, despite the fact that these facilities serve common freight and passenger flows and have a common technological cycle. As a result, adjacent BCPs sometimes have inconsistent operating modes and different throughput, interconnecting roads with different standards and technological operating procedures, and even occasional facts when a BCP is unilaterally built on one side of the border, but cannot function due to a lack of similar facility on the opposite side.
  •  NEA has only rudimentary institutions of regional integration, mainly in the field of economics and environmental protection. This is in line with the dominant regionalization model in East Asia, which puts the economy at the forefront, preferring not to touch sensitive areas of politics and security. As the experience of combating the COVID-19 pandemic shows, restoring the normal functioning of the regional economy without the consolidated efforts of the authorities of all regional countries will require much more time and resources.
  • Russia, as noted above, occupies a special position in regional transport and logistics sector. The volume of Russian cross-border traffic in the GTR is significantly less than that of neighboring economies. However, the dependence of the Far East of Russia on imports from the NEA countries is high, which was shown by negative experiences of the periodic closure of selected ITCs during a pandemic. What is more important in the context of this article, the Far Eastern territories of Russia have a huge, but currently grossly underutilized transit potential, which is attractive for shippers from the NEA economies.

Let’s add some other problems inhibiting the progress of ITCs:

The problem of statistics. The collection and analysis of statistical information on freight turnover and freight traffic have the following features and problems of accounting.

1. Differences in the accounting of goods by nomenclature. At the same time, there are national “statistical” and “linguistic” features;

2. The difference in measurement units;

3. Differences in accounting policies and the use of different sources of information.

The existing system of cross-border bilateral trade and transport organization is not favorable for transit transportation. There is controlled export and import flow in the transport management system, which cannot support transit, and as a result, the bilateral organization of transport management leads to increased tariffs and inhibits multilateral transit.

  • Insufficient development of BCP’s infrastructure, especially in Russia and Mongolia. Its modernization, of course, is the sole area of ​​responsibility of each ‘host’ country, though BCP key infrastructure parameters and operational procedures should be mutually agreed with cross-border partner. At the same time it should be noted that in 2020 significantly less cargo was transported through the BCPs in Southern Primorsky Territory of Russia than their current technical capabilities allow. The reason for this was quarantine restrictions, unilaterally point wise introduced by the provincial authorities of the PRC. Russian side as a rule was not notified in advance on the closure of the cross-border communication. It is very difficult to redirect even a part of the export-import cargo flow to the operating checkpoints belonging to other ITC today.
  •  Another serious problem is the rigid routing of transport arteries connecting the Russian Far East and neighboring countries of Northeast Asia, especially with regard to seaports. It combines the problems of land transport routes tied to specific ports, and the specialization of the ports themselves, unilaterally determined by their current owners solely for tactical reasons, while not taking into account long-term integration trends in NEA economy.

First of all, this refers to the expansion of major Russian coal exporters which seek to establish control over port facilities in the Pacific coast of Russia and export coal, as long as there is a market slot for this. However, the ever-increasing flow of coal has already led to overloading of TSR and BAM, the modernization progress of both has not kept pace with the appetites of coal tycoons. In a number of Russian ports, the environmental situation has seriously deteriorated due to the transshipment of coal in the open way. But, “green” priorities are becoming more widespread in the world, mostly caused not so much by concern for the environment as by political considerations, which resulted in a firmly taken course towards decarbonization of the global economy. This can lead to a forced termination of the massive purchases of thermal coal not only in Russia, but also in Mongolia and the North-Eastern provinces of China.


Let us address separately the situation with the transport and logistics sector in Mongolia. In many respects, Mongolia and Russia are experiencing similar problems in this area – underdeveloped infrastructure, especially at border crossing points, insufficient coverage of the territory by railways and roads, the predominance of bulk raw materials (coal, ore concentrate) in exports. It is logical and historically justified to resolve these problematic issues on the basis of common approaches, taking into account 100 years of special relations between our countries. At the same time, we should solve them basing on the “Win-Win” approach, not to the detriment of our GTI partners but in the common interests, jointly shaping a new concept of a joint transport and logistics network in Northeast Asia.

The issue of transportation of export coal and ore concentrates from Mongolia is especially important. Currently, Mongolian coal is almost completely transported by rail along the Tianjin – Mongolia Transport Corridor in the Chinese territory which is greatly overloaded. Therefore, when the Tavantolgoi mining megaproject in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia’s main export hope, is put into operation, the question of delivering its products to seaports for export to consumers from the Asia-Pacific region will become acute.

Of course, the ideal way to solve this problem could be the creation of a new energy / industrial cluster in the area of ​​the deposit, including a copper factory and a large thermal power plant operating on local coal. Modern technologies make it possible to generate electricity on the basis of burning coal with minimal damage to the environment. The new powerful TPP will be able to completely solve the problem of energy self-sufficiency for Mongolia. This strategic goal was listed the second in the program of Prime Minister U. Khurelsukh, which largely contributed to the impressing victory of the Mongolian People’s Party headed by him in the 2020 parliamentary elections. It is much easier and cheaper to organize the transportation of high-purity copper in ingots than bulk millions of tons of coal and ore. In addition, this product is guaranteed a high demand for many years, in contrast to the thermal coal.

However, it is clear that despite the undoubtedly bright prospects for the Gobi Desert energy / industrial cluster project, its implementation will require many years and significant investments, in particular, in the creation of a network of support transport infrastructure.

With the start of work on the Tavantolgoi field (2010), the Mongolian side intended to build about 4,000 km of new railway lines, covering the entire territory of the country. However, despite the participation of reputable global companies in the development of the project, such as McKinsey, the program very soon got mired in a series of corruption scandals and almost led to the bankruptcy of the entire national economy. The truth is that even if Mongolians could manage to implement what was planned 10 years ago even partially, this alone would hardly solve the problem of further transportation of Tavantolgoi products.

Therefore, today the Mongolian side is considering more than 10 options for coal transportation routes through overland communication lines and seaports of China, Russia and possibly, the DPRK.

It should be understood that it will not be easy to organize a large-scale transportation of Mongolian coal via the TSR, given the likely resistance from Russian coal corporations which see Mongolia as a serious market competitor. The Russian government, of course, can provide Mongolian shippers with a certain quota for the delivery of coal through TSR or BAM, but in the long term the problem must be solved using market methods. Thus, Primorye-1 ITC  has a certain throughput reserve capacity on the PRC territory and in principle, is capable of transporting large volumes of Mongolian bulk cargo. There are some other options as well. But for this it is necessary to solve one major problem – to move from a non-flexible system of corridors to a network organization of transport and logistics processes in GTR.

How do experts see the general outlines of the creation of a new network structure?

At the first stage, it is advisable to create local networks by uniting separate routes and looping the existing / under construction communications and logistics hubs where it is feasible.

Subsequently, we can consider the prospect of creating a unified transport and logistics network covering the entire territory of the GTR and even beyond its geographical mandate. The modern challenge for GTR and NEA is the creation of the Integrated Sea-Land Multimodal Transport Network incorporating a set of routes of all means of transportation. Moreover, it is about creation of the integrative infrastructure uniting transport and other industries. Major infrastructure modernization is necessary to create such a network, including both ‘physical’ (Hard) infrastructure (routes, bridges, hubs, warehouses, ports etc.) and operational procedures (Soft) – digitalization of logistics processes, harmonization of different national standards, joint procedures for emergency response. The road ahead is long and challenging. But, the results may elevate our region to a brand new dimension.

This is an abridged version of the article. Full text is available for registered readers only.

The Northern Sea Transit Corridor As the Future of Russia in Global Logistics

How to reduce the cost of container shipping by 25% and compete with the Suez Canal by developing the domestic Arctic routes.

(abridged version, without graphics and details of modeling)

Felix A.Shamrai


Arctic Center

St.Petersburg State Marine Technical University

The Northern Sea Transit Corridor (NSTC) project was initiated by “Rosatom” State Corporation in 2019 with the aim of creating a new option for global logistics market – the delivery of goods between North-Western Europe and North-East Asia via the Northern Sea Route (NSR).

The idea of ​​attracting foreign cargo to the NSR began to sound actively after the May 2018 decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the document, by 2024 the cargo turnover of the NSR should increase to 80 million tons. For comparison, in 2018 this figure exceeded 20 million tons, in 2019 – 31.5 million tons.

Attention to the NSR transit potential increased after “Rusatom Cargo” (the logistics operator of the “Rosatom” state corporation) announced its intention to become a leader in the logistics services market by attracting international transit cargo traffic to the Northern Sea Transport Corridor. The basis of transit flow, according to the idea, should be containerized cargo. The NSTC project is aimed at attracting international transit sea cargo transportation, as well as the development of the corresponding infrastructure, including the construction of the necessary transport and logistics hubs and a commercial fleet. The start of NSTC commercial operations is planned for 2027.

To test various options for the NSTC implementation we created its technical and economic mathematical model. Its reliability has been verified in one of the global TOP-3 container shipping companies. We carried out modeling of various configurations of the Project structure taking the Shanghai – Rotterdam line as basic for calculation. In our opinion, the results obtained will allow “Rosatom” group of companies to select the most effective decision on NSTC implementation.

Container transportation lives at the expense of customers, for whom the most important factor is the cost of logistics. The reliability of the container service (its rhythm) is perceived by customers as a matter of course. The cargo base of the container line depends, first of all, on the cost of container delivery – $ / TEU.

Our simulation modeling showed that the delivery of a container from port to port, without intermediate transshipments on the route, is somewhat more profitable by LNG-fueled vessels (~ 8%) via the NSTC than along the Southern route (Suez Canal). But this benefit is not enough to shift from the South to the North the already established ‘habitable’ container flows, in which tens of billions dollars have been invested.

The use of nuclear-powered container ships gives a significantly greater benefit (~ 21%) via the NSTC comparing to the Southern route. But the world’s carriers have invested too much money in this route to abandon it. And, although there are no legal prohibitions on the entry of nuclear-powered ships into European ports, all socio-political “environment protection” resources will be involved to prevent the shift of container cargo base to the NSTC.

We have also considered the possibility of creating a container line (service) with intermediary hubs, when part of the total shipment is done by ordinary container ships with remaining part of the route by ice-class vessels under icebreaker escort: Rotterdam – Murmansk – Petropavlovsk – Kamchatsky – Shanghai (4 hubs) and Rotterdam – Murmansk – Shanghai (3 hubs).

Modeling demonstrated that that the more transshipments (more hubs), the higher the cost of container service, the “smaller” the vessel, the higher the cost of container service.

The analysis showed:

● inapplicability of the transshipment scheme in both Murmansk and Petropavlovsk – Kamchatsky (684 $ / TEU via NSTC > 610 $ / TEU through the Suez Canal);

● inapplicability of container ships with a capacity of 5000 TEU compared to 24000 TEU ($ 849 / TEU5000> $ 684 / TEU24000);

● the possibility of competition between the NSTC (Rotterdam – Murmansk – Shanghai) with the Suez route (582 $ / TEU NSTC (3 hubs) ~ 610 $ / TEU Suez Canal)

To create a cargo base for a new container service (a new container line via the NSTC), it is necessary to ensure a competitive cost of delivery of one TEU. It should be at least 25% lower than through the Suez Canal. A high share of the cost of maintaining a container stock – 37% and a high share of the cost of handling crane operations – 31%. A significant share (17%) goes to the maintenance of the line’s fleet. The three above-mentioned expenses form 85% of the container service prime cost. Passage through the Suez Canal, fuel, crew costs – are not decisive in the formation of the cost.

The cost of maintaining a stock of containers should be reduced. The faster the ships go, the higher the container turnover, the lower the costs for their possession. At the same time, fuel costs will be higher. Considering that fuel has less weight in the overall cost of service, it makes sense to use more fuel at high speeds of container ships. By creating a Russian container line, we propose to create the latest robotic production of containers, thereby reducing their cost by up to 2 times. This will significantly reduce the “container” cost share in the NSTC performance scheme.

Each additional transshipment of containers increases the cost of service by ~ 15%. That is why it is so important that the number of transshipments is as small as possible. When forming the NSTC service, it is necessary to strive to minimize the number of hubs and transshipments.

We understand that Europe is unlikely to allow a nuclear-powered container ships to enter its ports (Rotterdam in particular). However, such a line without “asking” anyone can operate through the Russian hub (in St. Petersburg or Murmansk) via the NSTC to Shanghai.

The next stage of our work was the modeling of a container line between Rotterdam and Shanghai via the NSTC comparing to the Southern route. In the model, we took into account:

● containers from Rotterdam to Murmansk are delivered by 24,000 TEU class LNG-fueled container ships (450 $ / t);

● average load 20,000 TEU / ship;

● in Murmansk, transshipment is carried out on nuclear-powered ships that go to Shanghai.

● current exchange rate – 75 rubles / $;

● the possibility of high speeds of a nuclear-powered container ship in clear waters due to its high fuel efficiency;

● the possibility of high speeds of NSR passage due to the emergence of the LK-60 and LK-120 class icebreaker fleet;

● the possibility of reducing the cost of production of containers;

● the possibility of a high-latitude NSTC route was not taken into account;

● capital expenditures for the development of port infrastructure was not taken into account;

When the cost of delivery of one container reaches 25% less than that of competitors, there will be no forces that could prevent the formation of a container cargo base for the NSTC – this is the target of the entire project. We have shown the possibility of achieving the level of competitiveness of the NSTC in comparison with the Southern route by 25% ($ 575 / TEU < $ 766 / TEU), which will provide a cargo base for container transportation.

We have modelled two options of the NSTC: with the creation of a hub either in St. Petersburg or in Murmansk. The latter option is preferable for transit between the EU and China’s northeastern coast. But the route through St. Petersburg (ports of Bronka or Ust-Luga) creates benefits for Russian importers. Today the Russian client base forms a flow from Asia of about 10,000 TEU / week (0.5 million TEU / year). The cost of intermodal container delivery (40 ft.) stands for 282$./unit (Murmansk – SPb route) and 610$./unit (Rotterdam – SPb route). But if the hub is located in St. Petersburg, then the intermodal ‘tail’ disappears. Accordingly, import delivery in this case is the least expensive $ 957 40ft <$ 1836 40ft

With a comparable (through Murmansk and through St. Petersburg) containers delivery cost via the NSTC, the positioning of the hub in St. Petersburg creates for Russia a turnover worth  $ 1.2 billion / year and a net profit of $ 286 million / year. The option of hub location in Murmansk is beneficial for transit clients, but has low margins for the NSTC project itself.


● Creation of a new global logistics route along the NSTC is possible and economically feasible for all participants: customers of container transportation, container services (container lines), ports;

● The owners of the existing container lines are not interested in NSTC, as they have invested very heavily in the Southern routes;

● It is necessary to create a new global carrier;

● Creation of a large Russian container intermodal operator for NSTC will further increase the competitiveness of the line due to benefits for Russian export-import container traffic;

● Creation of a new container line served by Russian global operator makes it possible to create container production at a price significantly lower than now. This will significantly increase the competitiveness of the line;

● It is necessary to reduce the number of transshipments on the route;

● It is necessary to develop innovative approaches to loading and unloading operations aimed at reducing its time and cost. For example: the ability to transship containers ‘board – board’ bypassing the shore;

● The main challenge for a container ship is the minimum turnaround time on the line, then fewer vessels are required. The higher the speed on the route, the shorter the route, the faster the turnover;

● Nuclear container ship provides the greatest competitiveness for a container line;

● The location of the hub in St. Petersburg ensures the viability of the entire container service via the NSTC;

● According to expert estimates, the location of the hub in St. Petersburg will require minimal investment due to the high level of readiness of Ust-Luga and Bronka seaports;

● The smaller the size of container ships relative to 24,000 TEU-class, the lower their competitiveness. 5000 TEU Arc7 container ship will never become commercially profitable due to its lack of competitiveness in comparison with the Suez route;

● The cost of icebreaker assistance is not a factor that somehow restrains the development of the NSTC.This article did not use any materials from other authors. Diagrams and tables are based on the technical and economic mathematical model built by the author. All these models are the author’s expert assessments, which were discussed with competent experts.

The World’s Largest Research Expeditionary Vessel for the Arctic and Antarctic Will Be Built in Russia


The “Nevskoye Design Bureau” in cooperation with the “Admiralty Shipyards” and the Institute of the Arctic and Antarctic is developing a universal research expeditionary vessel code-named ‘Albatross’. Mikhail Rudenko, chief designer of the “Nevskoye Design Bureau”, informed about the ship’s project at the conference “Russia and Germany: Technological Partnership in the Field of Shipbuilding”.

He specified the primary technical characteristics of the ship:  Arc7 ice class, length – 160.4 m, width – 26 m, displacement – about 25 thousand tons.

Albatross’ will be equipped with the most modern components including two large cranes with a lifting capacity of 50 tons, a powerful ship propulsion complex with two 7.5 MW rudder-propeller AZIPOD drives,  hydraulic hatch covers and other marine engineering equipment – winches, spiers, etc. Moreover, all equipment must withstand extremely low temperatures.

Mr. Rudenko noted the fact that vessels like “Albatross’ have prospects for the development of exports from Russia.

Today Russia has the largest network of Antarctic stations. There are five stations in operation –  Novolazarevskaya, Progress, Bellingshausen, Mirny and Vostok. Inaddition, there are fieldairfields, sub-bases, etc. There are 53 Russian bases in the Arctic, and each of them has scientific personnel. Special scientific expedition ships are being built to supply the stations. There are three such vessels in Russia at the moment – ‘Mikhail Somov’, ‘Akademician Fedorov’ and ‘Akademician Treshnikov’. But the first two need to be replaced soon.

Research expeditionary vessels are designed not only to replace the personnel of the Arctic and Antarctic stations, but also to deliver various supplies – fuel, dry cargo and can independently conduct scientific research in the World Ocean. In terms of their functionality, such vessels combine the functions of a passenger vessel, research vessel, container ship, dry cargo ship, tanker, helicopter carrier and icebreaker. In other words, one vessel combines the functions of seven at once.

According to Mr. Rudenko, the construction of multi-functional ships has become a worldwide trend in recent years. As for the progress of construction of similar ships in other countries, in 2019 the “Snow Dragon – 2” was built in China. This year it is planned The commissioning of the British ship “Sir David Attenborough” is planned for 2021, the Canadian icebreaker “John Diefenbaker” will hopefully be constructed in 2022. Last year, the Australian Arc 3 research and supply vessel ‘Nuyina’ was launched at Galati shipyard in Romania and towed to the Damen shipyard in Vlissingen, Netherlands for fitting the equipment and completion of construction. Her length is 160.3 m. In other words, ‘Albatross’ will slightly surpass ‘Nuyina’ in size and become the largest icebreaking research expeditionary ship in the world.

Natalia Gusatchenko, “Water Transport” / News