Aleksandr N. Gavrilov
Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University, Vladivostok

Abstract: Forecasting the turnover in seaports is the basis for the development of strategic and program documents at all levels, as well as for planning the development programs for individual enterprises. The paper considers the forecasting of cargo turnover in the seaports of Russian Federation in its historical development. He concludes that the existing centralized system for forecasting cargo turnover does not function properly, and the mechanism necessary to replace is not available so far. Such new mechanism must be created with the direct participation of the state bodies.

Keywords: Forecasting, planning, seaports, strategy, management

The author expresses his gratitude to Dr. Alexander Lugovets for providing attention and support in accomplishing the study of this complex topic.

Forecasting the turnover of seaports is an important management task, implemented both in the course of strategizing maritime activities, and in the course of managing the current activities of enterprises in the maritime industry.

In the USSR, much attention was paid to forecasting and planning the economy as a whole and its individual sectors. Back in 1920, the “Institute for the Conjuncture” was created, which was engaged in theoretical and practical research in the field of forecasting and planning. The outstanding Russian economist N.D. Kondratyev, the author of the theory of economic cycles [1], was the founder and director of this Institute until 1928. Kondratyev substantiated the need to introduce a new economic policy (NEP) in Soviet Union. His works laid the fundamental theoretical basis for domestic prognostics [2]. However, after the collapse of the NEP policy and the transition to a rigid centralized system of economic management (late 1920s – early 1930s), scientific results achieved

by Kondratyev and his followers were not used in practice. The Institute of Conjuncture in 1928 transferred to the jurisdiction of the Central Statistical Office and ceased to engage in economic forecasting. At the same time, the term “forecasting” itself from that time and practically until the collapse of the USSR disappeared from regulatory documents, since forecasting was considered the “bourgeois antipode” of planning. In scientific literature and in periodicals, the term “forecasting” had been used mainly in research on the capitalist (market) economy.

The Commission for the Electrification of the Country was created in 1920, which developed the first Soviet large-scale project in the field of forecasting and planning – the GOELRO plan. In 1923, the GOSPLAN agency (State Planning Committee) was created in the USSR on its basis [3]. The further planning of the country’s development until 1991 was carried out by GOSPLAN by drawing up annual, five-year and long-term (15 years) plans.

In 1935, the Transport Committee of the USSR Academy of Sciences was established. In 1938, this Committee transformed into the Section for Scientific Development of Transport Problems of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

On January 1, 1955 the Institute for Complex Transport Problems (ICTP) was organized on the basis of this Section. In the sixties, the ICTP transferred from the system of the Academy of Sciences to the subordination of the State Economic Council of the USSR, and later to the State Planning Committee of the USSR.

With the beginning of radical economic reforms in Russia and the abolition of the USSR State Planning Committee, the institute reassigned to the Ministry of Economy of Russia. At the end of 1994, the successor to ICTP was formed – the Scientific Center for Complex Transport Problems of the Ministry of Transport of Russia (SCCTP).

Currently, SCCTP is a federal state budgetary institution (FSBI) in the structure of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation [4].

SCCTP participated in the following significant projects with forecasting elements:

1) Development of the “Transport Strategy of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2030” (2007) and its updating (2012).

2) Federal target program “Development of the transport system of Russia (2010 – 2020)”.

SCCTP today is carrying out the following work within the framework of the state contract:

– Monitoring of the actually achieved values of the indicators of the “Transport Strategy of the Russian Federation”.

– Analysis of the dynamics of achieving the goals of the “Transport Strategy of the Russian Federation”.

– Monitoring the implementation of the action plan of the “Transport Strategy of the Russian Federation” for the medium term.

In 1990, the Institute for Transport Problems named after V.I. NS. Solomenko (ITP) was created in the system of the USSR Academy of Sciences based on the structural offices of the Commission on Transport Problems under the USSR Academy of Sciences. The research area “Scientific bases for forecasting and development of transport networks” became one of primary goals assigned to ITP. In the structure of the Institute, there is a department for forecasting the development of transport systems. Analysis of the list of the most important works of the department, posted on the ITP official website, showed that the main topics of research work of the department relate to the management of transport networks and the optimization of their performance.

In the USSR, departmental research institutes subordinate to the Ministry of Merchant Fleet: Soyuzmorniiproekt, Lenmorniiproekt, Chernomorniiproekt, Kasmorniiproekt, Dalmorniiproekt, TsNIIMF and others carried out forecasting in the field of maritime transport. Among the main forecast indicators of maritime transport, the cargo base of ports and the transport fleet was considered as the basis for planning the development of the industry.

Plans for the development of the cargo base for individual cargoes were coordinated with the relevant sectoral ministries (the Ministry of the Coal Industry, the Ministry of the Oil and Gas Industry, etc.). Plans for the development of maritime transport, based on plans for the development of the cargo base and other sectoral targets, were approved by the USSR Ministry of Merchant Fleet and sent to the USSR State Planning Committee for inclusion in the country’s general development plans. Based on the forecasts,

the General Scheme for the development of maritime transport for a 15-year period formed.

In the conditions of a centrally planned economy, traditional forecasting methods – extrapolation, regression-correlation and other similar were mainly used. In cooperation with the institutions of the USSR Academy of Sciences, mathematical modeling of traffic flows and solution for optimization of transport problems have become widespread. As a separate direction, the planning method based on input-output balances was refined (the application of V.V. Leontiev’s theory based on input-output tables), which works well under the conditions of the closed economic system of the USSR and the planned economy.

The forecasts made were invariant as a rule, since the planning system that existed in the USSR did not imply a plurality of scenarios for the development of both the economy as a whole and its particular sectors.

The command-and-control nature of decision-making on key issues of the country’s development, in particular, in determining indicators for economic growth, led to a decrease in the scientific validity of forecasts. Nevertheless, the forecasting accuracy was quite high: for example, the error in determining the cargo base of the transport fleet at the level of five-year plans as a whole (for the entire aggregate of cargo) did not exceed 10-15%.

In 1978, Soyuzmorniiproekt, the leading institute in the field of forecasting in maritime transport, created the “Model of the General Scheme for the Development of Maritime Transport” (later accomplished in RD 31.01.22-85 [5], which contained methodological aspects of forecasting that were fundamentally new for socialist economic system, in particular:

– forecasting separated from planning;

– in addition to the main option in the development of foreign trade transportation and transportation of goods of foreign charterers (GFC), it recommended to consider a creation of one – two additional alternative options;

– marketing research among other things became an integral part of the forecast for foreign trade cargoes and GFCs, although the term “marketing” itself was clearly not used;

– competition with foreign carriers was taken into account, although the term “competition” itself was clearly not used;

– the model allowed the use of methods based on expert assessments.

In the 1980s, maritime transport enterprises began to adapt to new economic realities – self-financing and cost accounting., The forecasting functions began to change gradually in these conditions. First, part of the scope of work on short-term forecasting and planning transferred from the central office to the enterprise level. Secondly, if the principle of development from the achieved levels (exploratory forecasting and planning) was earlier the basic planning method, then with the introduction of elements of economic liberalization, the principle “from the goal – to substantiating the need for resources and sources of financing” (normative-target forecasting and planning) became more popular.

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