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08.04.16 17:00
Report "New requirements to the Russian river shipbuilding in the low-water conditions of rivers"



A confrontation "Russian Shipbuilding" took place in the St.-Petersburg on the 7-8th of April, 2016. More than 200 specialists that represent state and private customers participated in the conference workout, as follows: from special economic zones (Lotos, Astrakhan) and industrial clusters (Tatarstan, St.-Petersburg), shipyards and machinery plants, equipment suppliers, design and scientific organizations from Russia, Finland, Germany, Holland, Turkey, Ukraine. 16 reports were represented.
 
General director of Marine Engineering Bureau, professor, Sc. Dr. Gennady Egorov introduced an analytical report "New requirements to the Russian river shipbuilding in the low-water conditions of rivers".
 
It was demonstrated that the rapid degradation of the water fleet that took place the last 30 years has been stopped in 2011-2015 thanks to state assistance.
 
Total number of vessels stopped decreasing for already 4 continuous years; mean age DOESN'T GROW: in 2012 there were 22440 vessels with mean age of 33.3 years; in 2013 there were 22462 vessels with 33,27 years; in 2014 there were 22678 vessels with 33,26 years. For the beginning of 2016 one may even discover vessel's number increases and mean age decreases: there were 23500 vessels with mean age 32.9 years.
 
In comparison with 2012-2013, tankers' building rate decreased and dry cargo vessels' building is fully frozen though it is far enough to the saturation of the new vessels market.
 
One (but not single) of the factors of processes' slowing-down is existing of "narrow" places of internal waterways. Also there are insufficient depths at a number of places, underloading of operated vessels. As a result of vessels' underloading, it's required more voyages to transport the set quantity of cargo (e.g. by 1.5 times more for VDSC). But the increased number of vessels running through the canal will increase time loss for lock passing waiting; respectively duration of the round voyage increases also.
 
The main cargo flow decreasing at RF inland waterways was met at 40 km part from Gorodetsk locks Nos. 15-16 till Balakhna. Only every fourth day vessels with draught 2.5 m were able to sail through there; in general only sailing with draught 1.9 m was provided. One may take into consideration that ensured vessel's draught is 3.6 m.
 
Additionally for this problem, in 2015 the situation in the southern part became complicated significantly too. Due to the predicted low-water at Lower Don, the Don Basin Waterway Administration developed working regime for Tsimlyansk Reservoir which will provide depths about 3.00 m.
 
One may understand that underloading of Volga-Don Max tanker for 60 cm (i.e 3.00 m instead of 3.60 m) means cargo capacity loss of 1150-1370 t (see the Table 1). For dry-cargo vessels of same type the cargo capacity loss is 1180-1320 t (see the Table 2).
 
RosMorRechFlot made considerable efforts for elimination of "narrow" places, for example, building of the Nizhny Novgorod low pressure node is planned in 2016-2020; this facility has to solve Gorodetsk problem. Also the building second line of the Nizhne-Svirskiy lock has to be handed over by 2017; the documents' package for justification of the low pressure node on the Don River at the Bagayevskiy District is prepared.
 
Table 1
Underloading of the main tankers' types due to insufficient depth

 
River draught, m 550A prj. "Volgoneft" RST54 prj. "Balt Flot" RST27 prj. "VF Tanker" RST22 prj. "New Armada"
Deadweight, t Deadweight loss, t Deadweight, t Deadweight loss, t Deadweight, t Deadweight loss, t Deadweight, t Deadweight loss, t
2.20 2259 -2641 2575 -3170 2250 -3170 1740 -2933
2.40 2629 -2271 3022 -2723 2697 -2723 2150 -2523
2.60 3002 -1899 3471 -2275 3145 -2275 2562 -2111
2.80 3377 -1524 3921 -1824 3596 -1824 2977 -1696
3.00 3754 -1146 4375 -1370 4050 -1370 3394 -1279
3.20 4134 -766 4831 -914 4506 -914 3817 -856
3.40 4516 -384 5288 -457 4963 -457 4244 -429
3.60 4900 0 5745 0 5420 0 4673 0

 
Table 2
Underloading of the main dry cargo vessels types due to insufficient depth

River draught, m 1565 prj. RSD44 prj. RSD49 prj 19610 prj
Deadweight, t Deadweight loss, t Deadweight, t Deadweight loss, t Deadweight, t Deadweight loss, t Deadweight, t Deadweight loss, t
2.20 2434 -2883 2514 -3029 1541 -2966 1186 -2709
2.40 2836 -2481 2935 -2608 1958 -2549 1564 -2331
2.60 3240 -2076 3357 -2186 2377 -2130 1945 -1950
2.80 3650 -1667 3784 -1758 2799 -1708 2329 -1566
3.00 4064 -1253 4218 -1324 3223 -1284 2716 -1179
3.20 4480 -836 4657 -885 3649 -858 3106 -789
3.40 4897 -419 5099 -443 4077 -430 3499 -396
3.60 5317 0 5543 0 4507 0 3895 0

 
But such decrease in loading of vessels (plus ruble rates of transportation) was reflected in a financial condition of the main shipping companies. Referring to recommendations of economic science and front lines business schools, It is possible to say that it is necessary to build new vessels just at the "low" market (this moment the cost of the river-sea vessels' construction in Russia is LESS than in China). But it is only a theoretically idea. But practically, it is very difficult to tell the banks about the "light" future when the income significantly fell.
 
For example, as a result of a lack of depths (and essential decrease in rates), part of the new river-sea tankers were brought out of the mixed transportations into purely marine transportation. One can find in the Table 3 an example (online sample for concrete date) of the actual geographical position of tankers of three new projects. For example, 80% of vessels with heavier hulls (Armadas which deadweight is 3400 t for draught 3.00 m) worked in the Caspian Sea and other seas. On the contrary, 80% of the "super full" RST27 vessels continued to work in the mode of the river-sea transportations.
 
Table 3
Example of geographic position of new generation river-sea tankers caused by insufficient depths of inland waterways (sample of single of the summer day)

Vessel's project Total vessels' number Number of vessels in voyage (per regions) Number of vessels under waiting for cargo
River-sea transportation Caspian Sea Other seas
RST27 29 19 3 3 4
RST25 5 1 3 1 -
005RST01, RST22, RST22M 26 3 4 17 2

 
The leading shipping companies, that built vessels a lot of in 2010-2013, now have many credits to pay. May be, it is necessary to consider possibility of the "dot" help to the big shipping companies which already made large investments in the new shipbuilding and therefore now are in a difficult financial situation.
 
It will allow to keep these shipowners at the transportation market and to create the strong structures capable to solve the serious tasks set by the government due to realization of programs for fleet renewing and transportations of state economic cargo.
 
However technical solutions that are available from give more effective and economic vessels (including those for low-water situation) have to be used.
 
The character feature of this new tendency is "expanding" narrow places of inland water transport by using new technical decisions. Saying in 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 avoiding of 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.
 
The most remarkable example is a unique concept of "super-fat" river-sea cargo vessel of "Volgo-Don Max" class that had been materialized for 2012-2015 years in thirty-two (!!!) built RST27 tankers (the largest vessels' series of the post-Soviet period) and four combined RST54 project platform tankers designed on the basis of RST27 project. Vessels are being built now, even in these world-difficult economic conditions nowadays. Six RST27 vessels and six RST54 vessels are ordered; a new dry cargo RSD59 vessel with "super lengthy" cargo hold is being designed (10 vessels are ordered); there are also created a chemical/ore carrier is created (for oil and chemicals in bulk transportation at one direction and dry cargo transportation in hold ad back voyage), RSD62 dry cargo vessel for the "Northern delivery", RST12 and RST28 oil tankers. All these vessels are designed with the "super fat" contours.
 
In 2010 Marine Engineering Bureau developed CP1002 concept of "estuary" river-sea tanker of "Volga-Don Max" type ("M-PR" class notation) with lowered air draught. This concept is made on the basis of analogue RSD44 dry cargo vessel and practically has no hull parts (wheel house and living deck-house) overhanging above trunk; such construction allows to pass under bridges of Saint-Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don without their drawing. Hull weight decreasing and contours "fatness" rising were achieved due to lowering of sailing region level; this provided enhanced cargo capacity for restricted river draughts (deadweight is 5520 tons for draught of 3.60 m). Vessel is called of "estuary" type because she will be able to operate at inland waterways, Finnish Gulf (Baltic Sea) and Azov Sea (till the Kerch Straits). Non-restricted under-bridge passing allows to save up to 20 days per navigation. But for this variant all-the-year-round operation is impossible due to low class.
 
That is why basing on results of special group (Rishard Bagautdinov was a leader) activity of UTA Holding in 2011 river-sea RST27 tanker project of "VF Tanker" type with "super fat" forms (with block coefficient 0.932) was developed using new theoretical decision of Marine Engineering Bureau investigations concerning possibility of block coefficient rising. Such tanker got enhanced river cargo capacity while keeping sailing region R2 and possibility for all-the-year-round operation (as for Armada series). Her deadweight became 5420 tons for draught of 3.60 m; such achievement equate this tanker to the "estuary" river ones (keeping marine deadweight 7000 tons as for universal tankers of RST22 and RST22M projects).
 
Later on, usage of RST54 concept of combined vessels (2013) that apart from other properties get "super fat" forms and "estuary" class notation "M-PR 2.5", provides, as follows:
 
• both directions cargo transportation (oil cargoes towards one direction and dry cargoes towards back direction);
• lowering highways rate by transportation of 200-280 passenger cars, that usually are brought from St.-Petersburg to central Russia by car transportation trucks;
• transportation of 120 containers (weight up to 36 tons) that are prohibited for car trains transportation due to unallowable road loads. Containers' number may include 45 refrigerating ones.
 
Tanker series under construction (RST22M, RST27, RST25) have got significantly increased range of carried liquid cargoes. Firstly cargoes with common name "vegetable oil" (including components of bio diesel, now famous palm oil etc.) were added to the crude oil and petroleum products. On the second stage other "light" chemical cargoes were added; nevertheless these cargoes required meeting of IMO 2 chemical tanker requirements due to damage stability, onboard equipment and cargo tanks' cover.
 
Main particulars of the optimal inland waterways vessels are set maximally close to the dimensional restrictions of the lines to which they are intended. But in accordance with well-known low-water problem it's impossible to accept such dimensions (namely length and breadth) for a single hull. It's really hard to imagine single-hull vessel of 160-240 m length with draught 1.40 m and corresponding small depth.
 
Despite decreasing of the ordered vessels number in the short-term prospect, medium-term prospect (since 2017) is quite clear: construction of new tankers and combined vessels will return to the level of 2012-2013.
 
Anyway, we shall have to build new fleet equivalent to the existing fleet by transport capacity.
 
It is clear that these vessels will not repeat the existing ones, because more efficient solutions have been already found:
 
• maximal usage of actual way characteristics (maximal available vessel's length and breadth);
• usage of extremely fat hull contours, that have never been used before in the world's practice;
• increasing of the nomenclature of transported cargoes by project cargoes, chemistry cargoes, combination of dry and liquid cargoes onboard single vessel (i.e. oil transportation in one direction and gravel backwards);
• decreasing of air draught that allows avoiding of running time loss for waiting of bridges drawing;
• usage of "rotator" effect when single pusher tug serves 2-3 barges;
• increasing profit of self-propelled vessel by attaching the pushed barge.
 
Marine Engineering Bureau designed such new cargo vessels for inland waterways of Russia that "broaden" narrow parts of inland waterway transport and significantly improve their economical results due to the new technical solutions.
 
Shipbuilders are concerned about the downloading of Shipyards and saving of the gained momentum of production (which is impossible without orders). And if we do not build now, in 3-5 years there will be not enough opportunities of shipyards to replace very old cargo vessels fast.