Report "Perspectives of river shipbuilding in Russia" at IV International Forum "Marine Industry of Russia"
On 22.05.2014 round-table discussion "Perspectives of civil shipbuilding's engineering" was held during IV International Forum "Maritime Industry of Russia". Gennadiy Egorov, MEB general director, prof., Sc. Dr. made a report "Perspectives of river shipbuilding in Russia".
It was pointed in the report, that during 14 years of the new century (for the 1st of January of 2014) about 260 cargo mixed river-sea vessels were built.
Vessels were built by efforts of leading private shipowners such as "Volga Shipping Co.", "North Western Shipping Co.", "Palmali Group" and "Moscow River Shipping Co.". However, there was said about mixed sea-river going vessels because purely river vessels have the payback period of 20-25 years (due to legislation effected until the last year), which is not acceptable to a private investor. It may be marked that total capacity of transported cargo is significant for all river-sea vessels of all types (29.5 million tons in 2012, more than 31.2 million tons in 2013.
The vessels of "Volga-Don Max" class, which are responsible for dimensions of the Volga-Don Shipping Canal and intended for replacing of the famous soviet series "Volgoneft" and "Volga-Dons" were and are the most demanded. "Volga-Don Max" class vessels are universal for work at European part of Russian inland waterways due to their dimensions. For information, record cargo capacity since 1983 of 12.7 million tons was transported through VDC in 2013.
River-sea vessels were built basing on projects developed after the 2000, as follows: 155 vessels were built due to Marine Engineering Bureau projects, 54 vessels were built due to projects of Volga-Caspian Bureau ("Krasnoe Sormovo" bureau), and 25 vessels were built due to projects of "Vympel" Bureau.
This moment process of building new cargo vessels for European part of Russian inland waterways commences; these vessels have enhanced river function:
• "estuary" river dry cargo vessels of "Volga-Don Max" class of RSD44 project with lowered air draught, allowing to pass under the bridges of the Neva River, under the Rostov-on-Don railway bridge without drawing and also through Moscow River (10 vessels are under operation yet);
• "super fat" mixed river-sea going RST27 tankers of "Volga-Don Max" class project with an increased river capacity (27 vessels are built yet, 5 ones are under building); preparation for new RST12 vessels' building is carried out (10 vessels are ordered);
• river combined platform tankers RST54 project based on "super fat" contours of RST27 project; these vessel are intended for transportation of cargo that doesn't suffer from wetting (e.g. gravel, rolled metal, "heavy" containers, cars, etc.) towards one direction and oil products towards back direction (5 vessels are under construction now, total 20 vessels order is awaiting).
The character feature of new concepts are "expanding" narrow places of inland water transport by using new technical decisions. Saying other words, transportation ability is increased by maximal usage of actual way characteristics (maximal available vessel's length and breadth), and mainly by usage extremely fat hull contours, that have never used before in world's practice. And at least, decreasing of air draught allows to avoid running time loss for waiting of bridges drawing in St.-Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don and allows to work through Moscow River till the Yuzhniy port.
Usage of RST27 combined vessels:
• provides both directions cargo transportation (oil cargoes towards one direction and dry cargoes towards back direction);
• allows to decrease highways rate due to passenger cars transportation (200-280 ones in single party), that usually are brought from St.-Petersburg to central Russia by car transportation trucks;
• provides transportation of 120 containers with weight up to 36 t each (including 45 refrigerating ones); such transportation is prohibited for car train due to maximal load restriction.
Quite different situation was formed in the Siberian and at the North of the European part of Russia. Problem concerning replenishment of northern rivers fleet has to be solved taking into consideration existing and perspective cargo flows of the specific region and region's needs.
Up-to-date concept of "northern delivery" vessel was introduced in the report. This vessel should be a mixed river-sea going vessel fully using dimensions of Lena River fairway from Osetrovo port till Tixi port (including season draughts alternation from 2.00 till 3.50 m). Also such vessel should have maximal (from running ability point of view) block coefficient, enhanced cargo capacity keeping available minimal vessel's depth, enhanced manoeuvrability in the constrained conditions and shallow water due to full-turn rudder propeller usage; reasonable operational reliability of hull constructions with simultaneously optimal steel intensity.
It is supposed to design dry cargo vessels and tankers using single base with same hull dimensions and contours and propulsion unit.
Tug-barge trains were designed for small draught conditions of Eastern regions. These tug-barge trains with UDR-100 tractive connection are of RRR O 2,0 (Ice 20) class and have working draughts 1.40 - 1.80 m; they include, as follows:
• oil tanker tug-barge train that allows to push barges at river conditions and is intended for transportation of crude oil and light petroleum products including ones with flash-point less than 60°C;
• dry cargo tug-barge train that allows to push barges at river conditions and is intended for transportation of general and dry bulk cargoes including coal, TEU and FEU containers, large-sized cargoes.
Except cargo vessels problem, there is very important for great river country, such Russia is, another problem that concerns replenishment of river passenger and passenger-cargo fleet for domestic transportation.
At present, passenger domestic transportation is carried out by morally and physically obsolete vessels, including ones that either are badly suitable for passenger transportation or that don't met transportation requirements, in particular, that have no reinforcements for working in the freezing river condition.
Problem concerning replacement of hardly aged river passenger fleet stays unsolved, because building up-to-date cruise vessel for Russian rivers (May - October working period) without government help is practically impossible; discount term of payback even for mostly efficient PV500VB concept vessels reaches 20 years. Thus, during a meeting on the 30.10.2012 between RF President Vladimir Putin and representatives of Russian transport industry the problem concerning neediness of government interference into new generation of river passenger vessels building was discussed. Due to estimations of shipping companies, Russia requires 10 vessels of "Volgo-Balt Max" concept with capacity of 550-600 passengers (PV500VB prj.) and 5 vessels of "Volgo-Don Max" concept with capacity of 300 passengers (PV300VD prj.).
1. The intensification of renovation process for fleet in whole and for river fleet in particular is needed. In order to accelerate river shipbuilding, main Russian shipowners introduce Vessel's Utilization Grant, i.e. single payment to shipping company for old fleet utilization; this grant should be able to use for building or buying of the new vessel.
2. The mixed river-sea going vessels (dry cargo type and tankers) which are intended to change "Volgo-Don" and "Volgo-Neft" type ones at the lines that are oriented to transport raw resources from Russian river ports to transshipment complexes at ports in Finnish Gulf and Kerch Straits are the most demanded.
3. The character feature of new concepts is "expanding" narrow places of inland water transport by using new technical decisions.
3.1 Transportation ability is increased by maximal usage of actual way characteristics (maximal available vessel's length and breadth), and mainly by usage extremely fat hull contours, that have never used before in world's practice. These decisions are relevant either for European part of inland waterways, and for Eastern inland waterways of Russia.
3.2 Decreasing of air draught allows to avoid running time loss for waiting of bridges drawing in St.-Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don and allows to work through Moscow River till the Yuzhniy port.
3.3 Usage of combined vessels provides both directions cargo transportation (oil cargoes towards one direction and dry cargoes towards back direction); that should allow to decrease highways rate due to re-forwarding some cargoes from road to water transportation. Such re-forwarded cargoes include passenger cars, that usually bring from St.-Petersburg to central Russia by car transportation trucks and heavy containers that are prohibited for car trains transportation due to unallowable road loads.
4. Shifting to qualitatively new level of the water transportation organization is needed; it can be reached by wide usage of tug-barge trains, as one can learn from the experience of high developed USA water transport. Tug-barge trains may be of river type (equipped by native tractive connections O-200, UDR-100, etc.) or marine type (equipped by Japanese, Finnish or American tractive connections). One must clearly understand that creation of tug-barge train project should not complete the process. Effective tug-barge train operation demands significant changes of transportation organization (providing so-called "rotator", when one pusher tug will work with 2-3 barges). Small draught tug-barge train usage is especially interesting at Eastern water ways where appreciable deterioration of travelling conditions is observed last years.
New orders are vitally significant for almost all river shipyards.