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In 1855, the English photographer Roger Fenton took these photographs of what the invading British Army called Cossack Bay, at Balaclava, during the Crimean War (in Russian, the Oriental War).

By John Helmer in Moscow

Russia’s Transport Minister Igor Levitin reported a huge number last month, which, if true, would mean that Russian shipbuilding is booming, and the yards will be full to overflowing for the decade to come.

At the last session of the Maritime Board, a policymaking committee of the Transport Ministry, Levitin announced that the order-book to the year 2020 for new vessels to be built at the domestic shipyards numbers two thousand, with the price-tag on the contracts totaling Rb1.5 trillion ($33 billion). Levitin’s claim appeared in Interfax and other media reports on March 30. It accompanied draft legislation for state budget support for the shipyards and shipbuilders, which has been drafted for the review of the Prime Ministry, before it goes to the State Duma for a vote.

Alexei Bezborodov, who heads Infranews, a leading Moscow maritime news service, told Fairplay the minister is exaggerating wildly. According to Bezborodov, just 120 vessels are currently contracted with 23 shipyards in Russia, with a delivery period of up to three years. Bezborodov’s tabulation of these orders is presented below. “Planning horizons for shipbuilding of more than three years don’t happen,” Bezborodov said, noting that total deadweight tonnage on order in the Russian yards at present is 981,000 dwt.

Russian shipyard construction capacity has reached its limit, and without fresh investment in manufacturing and technology, as well as confirmed orders for new ships, the yards cannot readily exceed this level, Bezborodov adds. “So, to fulfil the precepts of the Ministry of Transport, we need to triple current yard capacity — impossible!”

The Transport Ministry spokesman, Lyubov Britvina, was asked to confirm whether Levitin had been correctly quoted. She replied: “Two thousand ships is the planned number to be produced over the course of ten years; it includes civil ships, for example those used for fishing, research, servicing the needs of oil companies, etc.”

Vladimir Vityazev, a specialist at Zvyozdochka, the Star ship-repair works in Severodvinsk, told Fairplay that the current limitations on vessel size and yard capacity will not change in the short run. “The most advanced shipyard in Russia is the Admiralty Yards in St. Petersburg and the Northern Yard, also in St. Petersburg. A new shipbuilding area is under construction in the Far East. But even the major shipyards cannot produce a tanker of a large deadweight. So when Gazprom orders big tankers abroad, this is because they cannot order a similar ship here in Russia. They do, however, order smaller, specialized ships. For example, they placed an order at our shipyard for construction of a drifting drill platform.”

When Prime Minister Vladimir Putin discussed shipbuilding with Roman Trotsenko on February 18, the prospects for the Russian yards were optimistic, but the numbers modest. Trotsenko is a millionaire developer of commercial real estate and airports, and owner of the Moscow River Shipping Company. He was appointed to run the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation ( USC) after Alexander Buzakov was ousted late last year: http://johnhelmer.net/?p=2032

In Putin’s office in February, what Trotsenko had to boast about was, in retrospect, to Buzakov’s credit. Trotsenko told Putin: “I don’t think any sector has come in for so much attention on the part of the government in 2009 as shipbuilding. The five conferences that you presided over have yielded results. We see that the industry reported a 62% growth in 2009. There are several reasons for this growth, for example, several large vessels and drilling platforms were completed as scheduled. Nevertheless, this figure does give an idea of the potential for this sector to drive growth in the engineering industry in the future.” Trotsenko went on with his calculation of the shipyard order-book: “We have 118 ships and vessels in the works. The volume of USC’s foreign trade alone is $7.5 billion. December saw the signing of major contracts with Vietnam and Kuwait worth over $2.5 billion, which loads the capacity at the Admiralty Shipyards and the Khabarovsk Shipbuilding Plant.”

Among the financial measures discussed, Trotsenko said about Rb4 billion ($133 million) has been issued through USC to finance shipbuilding lease contracts on condition that the vessels have 60% Russian content, and are Russian flagged. Another Rb2.7 billion is budgeted for the leasing programme this year. New measures for tax and customs duty relief in shipbuilding zones are included in the draft legislation Levitin has introduced. They will cover new yard projects in the Far East; the Yantar yard in Kaliningrad; and a new southern shipbuilding zone on the Caspian.

Things would be much better, and the order-book fuller, Trotsenko told Putin, if Gazprom hadn’t postponed the Shtokman gasfield project in the Arctic, thereby delaying the order to build new gas tankers and drilling platforms at South Korean and Singaporean joint ventures at the new Chazhma Bay yard, on the Sea of Japan, and also at the Zvezda yard at nearby Bolshoy Kamen.

“I have to say that postponing the Shtokman field development by three years was bound to influence the business plans for the joint venture with Korea,” Trotsenko told Putin. “This naturally results in a delay in the building of gas tankers. We ask you to make a decision to optimize offshore development on condition that offshore fields are given to Russian companies which will order Russian ships and equipment.”

Putin agreed, but issued the qualification that has been killing the Russian shipyards since the collapse of the Soviet Union: “We will do it, but this work must be coordinated with sales volume, and the willingness of the market to absorb these volumes.”

RUSSIAN SHIPYARD ORDER-BOOK FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE

 

Customer

Dwt

GT

Type of ship

Engine

Commission date

Astrakhan ship-building factory

Euromaritime Trading BV

0

0

Combined river class

Caterpillar

2010-00

maXXL Shipping BV

3400

3040

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

Wartsila

2010-00

Rensen Scheepvaartbedrijf BV

0

0

River-sea tanker

 

2010-06

Svithoid Tankers AB

3400

3040

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

Wartsila

2010-00

Admiralty yards

 

Institute of the Arctic and the Antarctic

12000

7000

Non-cargo ship

 

2011-09

SOVCOMFLOT

70000

49069

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2010-04

Amur factory

Mega  Tankers Pte Ltd

19800

12000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2010-00

Mega  Tankers Pte Ltd

19800

12000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2010-00

Mega  Tankers Pte Ltd

19800

12000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2010-00

Mega  Tankers Pte Ltd

19800

12000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2010-00

Chkalovsky ship-building factory

 

Owner Unknown

0

0

River-sea tanker

Caterpillar

2009-11

Gorodetsky ship-building factory

Owner Unknown

6500

0

River-sea tanker

 

2009-12

Intro Pella

Basica Puerto de Moa

136

451

Towing ship

Caterpillar

2010-01

Owner Unknown

0

278

Towing ship

Caterpillar

2010-10

Owner Unknown

0

278

Towing ship

Caterpillar

2010-10

SOVCOMFLOT

136

451

Towing ship

Caterpillar

2010-10

SOVCOMFLOT

136

451

Towing ship

Caterpillar

2010-11

Kamsky ship-building factory, Perm

Silvinit JSC

6826

5172

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2009-00

Ukrvodshliah

0

837

Towing ship

CKD

1990-01

Khabarovsk ship-building factory

Owner Unknown

744

1303

Trawler

 

2009-09

Krasnaya kuznitsa, Arkhangelsk

FOR SALE

0

60

Non-cargo ship

 

2009-00

Owner Unknown

379

402

Non-cargo ship

Daldizel

2009-00

Krasnoye Sormovo, Nizhny Novgorod

Kazmortransflot JSC

12740

7848

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2010-05

Kazmortransflot JSC

12740

7848

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2010-07

Owner Unknown

13000

7800

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2009-12

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4700

Tanker (oil)

 

2009-08

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4700

Tanker (oil)

 

2009-10

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4700

Tanker (oil)

 

2009-12

Prime Shipping Ltd

5600

4378

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2010-06

Prime Shipping Ltd

5600

4378

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2010-09

Prime Shipping Ltd

5600

4378

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2010-12

Safinat JSC

13030

7833

Tanker (oil)

 

2009-06

Nevsky ship-building factory, Schlisselburg

Bergen Tankers AS

850

499

Non-cargo ship cont./

Mitsubishi

2009-00

Bergen Tankers AS

850

499

Non-cargo ship cont./

Mitsubishi

2009-00

Russian Ministry of Transport

1215

2634

Non-cargo ship

Wartsila

2010-11

Navashinsky ship-building factory, Oka

AET Inc Ltd

7094

4740

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

Cummins

2009-11

AET Inc Ltd

7094

4740

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

Cummins

2009-12

AET Inc Ltd

7094

5723

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

Cummins

2010-05

Volga Shipping JSC

5458

4000

Break-bulk

 

2011-00

Volga Shipping JSC

5458

4000

Break-bulk

 

2011-00

Volga Shipping JSC

5458

4000

Break-bulk

 

2011-00

Volga Shipping JSC

5458

4000

Break-bulk

 

2011-00

Volga Shipping JSC

5458

4000

Break-bulk

 

2011-00

Volga Shipping JSC

5458

4000

Break-bulk

 

2012-00

Volga Shipping JSC

5458

4000

Break-bulk

 

2012-00

Volga Shipping JSC

5458

4000

Break-bulk

 

2012-00

Volga Shipping JSC

5458

4000

Break-bulk

 

2012-00

Volga Shipping JSC

5458

4000

Break-bulk

 

2012-00

Onega, Petrozavodsk

Orion Shipping Co

4570

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2010-12

Owner Unknown

4570

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2009-12

Owner Unknown

4570

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2009-12

Owner Unknown

4560

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2010-12

Owner Unknown

4560

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2010-12

Owner Unknown

4560

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2010-12

Owner Unknown

4560

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2010-12

Owner Unknown

4560

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2011-12

Owner Unknown

4560

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2011-12

Owner Unknown

4560

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2011-12

Owner Unknown

4560

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2011-12

Owner Unknown

4560

2989

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2012-12

White Sea – Onega Shipping

5467

4182

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2009-08

Northern yards

Meling & Co AS

3350

2603

Supply vessel

MaK

2009-10

Troms Offshore AS

4900

4260

Supply vessel

Caterpillar

2010-12

Sevmash

FOR SALE

0

100

Towing ship

 

2009-00

FOR SALE

45000

28000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2009-00

FOR SALE

45000

28000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2009-00

FOR SALE

45000

28000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2009-00

FOR SALE

45000

28000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2009-10

FOR SALE

0

200

Non-cargo ship

Caterpillar

2009-12

FOR SALE

45000

28000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2009-12

FOR SALE

45000

28000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2010-06

FOR SALE

45000

28000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2010-10

FOR SALE

45000

28000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2011-06

Julesburg Corp

190

0

Non Merchant Ships

M.T.U.

2010-08

O’Neil Assets Corp

0

1100

Non Merchant Ships

M.T.U.

2011-07

Owner Unknown

0

36

Towing ship

Caterpillar

2009-09

Owner Unknown

45000

28000

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

MAN-B&W

2011-10

SAIPEM SpA

14508

54000

Non Ship Structures

Non-Propelled

2009-12

SeaDragon Offshore Ltd

14508

54000

Non Ship Structures

Bergens

2010-12

Unknown

0

200

Non-cargo ship

Caterpillar

2009-09

Sosnovsky ship-building factory, Kirov region

Owner Unknown

30

117

Trawler

 

2009-00

Owner Unknown

35

145

Trawler

 

2009-00

Ministry of Transport

280

500

Ro-Ro Cargo

 

2010-00

Ministry of Transport

280

500

Ro-Ro Cargo

 

2010-00

Ministry of Transport

280

500

Ro-Ro Cargo

 

2011-00

Ministry of Transport

280

500

Ro-Ro Cargo

 

2011-00

Unknown

30

117

Trawler

 

2009-00

Srednenevsky ship-building factory

Owner Unknown

84

150

Passenger

 

2009-00

Volgogradsky ship-building factory

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4681

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2011-08

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4681

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2011-10

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4681

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2011-12

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4681

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2012-02

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4681

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2012-04

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4681

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2012-06

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4681

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2012-08

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4681

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2012-10

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4681

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2012-12

Palmali Shipping Services

7008

4681

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2013-00

Volgograd Shipbuilding Plant

4450

3470

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

Wartsila

2009-12

Volgograd Shipbuilding Plant

4450

3470

Tanker (oil products, chemicals)

Wartsila

2010-06

Vyborgsky ship-building factory

SeaDragon Offshore Ltd

0

35000

Platform

Bergens

2011-06

Yantar

BARD Engineering GmbH

0

250

Non-cargo ship

 

2010-01

Coast Guard RF

134

1300

Non-cargo ship

M.T.U.

2009-12

Owner Unknown

12500

10040

Break-bulk

MAN-B&W

2009-00

Owner Unknown

12500

10040

Break-bulk

MAN-B&W

2009-00

Owner Unknown

327

584

 Towing ship

Caterpillar

2010-00

Yaroslavsky ship-building factory

FOR SALE

960

1430

Supply vessel

Caterpillar

2010-10

FOR SALE

960

1430

Supply vessel

Caterpillar

2010-12

Mathisen T

500

499

Trawler

 

2010-03

Owner Unknown

500

499

Trawler

 

2010-03

Owner Unknown

500

499

Trawler

 

2010-03

Минтранс

51

343

Other shelf fleet

Baudouin

2010-08

Минтранс

51

343

Other shelf fleet

Baudouin

2011-02

Минтранс

51

343

Other shelf fleet

Baudouin

2011-02

Zelenodolsky ship-building factory, Tatarstan

Owner Unknown

12365

7212

Tanker (oil)

Wartsila

2009-00

Owner Unknown

5120

4970

Break-bulk

Wartsila

2009-12

Rensen Scheepvaartbedrijf BV

0

 

River-sea tanker

 

2009-12

Star

Arkhangelsk Tralflot

315

601

Trawler

Wartsila

2009-00

Arkhangelsk Tralflot

315

601

Trawler

Wartsila

2009-00

Owner Unknown

315

601

Trawler

Wartsila

2009-00

Total

981 384 

778 643 

 

 

 

 

Source: Alexei Bezborodov, Infranews.ru

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