Murmansk port junction grows capacities

The port of Murmansk is the northmost sea gate for Russia’s European part. Located on the shore of the wide and deep Kola Bay, where warm Gulf Stream’s springs flow to, that non-freezing port operates all year round. From over here tankers and dry cargo vessels go to different world’s directions. It is here in Murmansk that there starts the Northern Sea Route along which vessel convoys go via the Arctic Region led by nuclear ice breakers.
However, it is these days that the Murmansk Trading Port is getting special importance, at the threshold of reclaiming oil and gas deposits offered by the Arctic shelf sea area.
Our interlocutor is Alexander Dmitriev, Captain of the Port, Chief of the Administration of the Port of Murmansk.

– Mr. Dmitriev, this year the port of Murmansk is 90 years old. What is its potential today?

– The port meets all the necessary requirements of contemporary shipping. Vessels’ pass from the accesses to the Kola Bay and along its outstretch is monitored by means of vessels’ pass control system where three posts operate, one of them is automated. A well developed port infrastructure enables to receive for mooring the vessels with up to 100 thousand tons DWT, up to 265 m long. The dimensions of those vessels that are able to come to the port’s water area are unlimited.

The main regions and port terminals are 11 - 15 m deep. Thanks to tide streams, the depths increase to 3 m more, that creates additional opportunities for loading ships. Such procedure exists in the port, and it has been for some years that vessels and loaded additionally during tide water level increase.

In 2004 the port handled over 24 mln t of various cargoes, that exceeding the previous year’s result to 10 mln t. The main increment of cargo turnover was reached at the expense of the increase of the volumes of coal and carbohydrate raw material throughput. The volumes of handling apatite concentrate and fertilizers have remained on a stable high level.

To this year’s results, cargo turnover will reach the same level. However, this is by far not the top value. The cargo turnover that is forecast for the Murmansk transport junction will have made by year 2010 57 mln t, by 2015 – 75 mln t.

The port of Murmansk has business links with many ports all the world over. It is remarkable that the distance from the largest ports of the U.S.A., Canada, and South America is in some cases even shorter to Murmansk than to St.Petersburg.

Taking into account that the port of Murmansk has non-freezing, deep water area, protected against commotion, and free access to the open ocean, that enabling vessels go with no speed reduction, evident are its advantages and wide possibilities of use.

– In year 2007 JSC “Sevmorneftegaz” schedules industrial oil exploration at the Prirazlomnoye oil deposit in the Pechora Sea. Part of it will be delivered to Murmansk by tankers. Besides, bulk oil cargoes will come in railway tanks, for export shipment. In which way have there evolved for the recent years the port facilities designated for carbohydrate transhipment?

– Most investment projects on oil terminal construction in the Arctic area suggest offshore transhipment in the Murmansk port water area to larger deadweight vessels, for further Russian crude oil shipment to Western Europe and the U.S.A.

Three offshore transhipment facilities have already been organized and are operated in the water area of the port. This year over 4 mln t of oil and fuel oil have been shipped for export purposes via those facilities.

The construction of oil terminal with the capacity of 5.5 – 7 mln t is being carried out. The hydrotechnical part of the facility is performed as a pawl-type terminal, with a process site, located at the depth of 21.5 m. The terminal will be connected with the coast by means of a skyway.

Bulk oil cargoes will be delivered to the terminal by railway, and also by sea. A storage tanker DWT 100-150 thousand tons and coastal tanks that are being built are supposed to be used for bulk oil discharge from railway tanks. The tank with more than 100 thousand tons DWT is accepted as a rated vessel. The reconstruction of Fuel Depot No.623 for the Northern Navy (Cape Mokhnatkin) is being completed, so is the organization, on its basis, of the port facility with 2.5 mln t of capacity for oil product transshipment.

This and other projects will enable us to ensure the necessary amounts of carbohydrates’ volumes to be received and handled.

– The port of Murmansk is situated in the southern part of a rather lengthy Kola Bay, along its coasts many transshipment facilities are planned to be created. Tell us in more detail about it.

There exists a master development plan for the Murmansk port and transport junction, designed by JSC “Lenmorniiproject”, with the involvement of JSC “Lengiprotrans” and JSC “CNIIMF”. As per that document, the following technological transshipment facilities are going to be on the Eastern coast of the Kola Bay: special-purpose bulk cargo facilities and general cargo facility, a special coal facility and the one for oil products’ transhipment, after reconstruction and enlargement.

On the western coast of the Kola Bay it is supposed to locate three facilities for oil and oil products’ transshipment, a facility for coal transhipment with the capacity of 15 mln tons, a facility for general cargo and container transshipment.

Besides, within the limits of the existing port there has been built the first series of a specialized facility for receiving imported alum earth from vessels and loading it to railway carriages To implement that project, Closed-Type JSC “Murmansk Alum Earth Terminal” was created. The largest cargo owner, company “Russian Aluminum”, is greatly interested in participation in that JSC and finishing the construction of the facility.

In one word, the Murmansk port transport junction will be developed in the nearest future, in many ways and at high speed, continuously incrementing its capacity. What is of no less importance is that in the port of Murmansk both these days and in the future there will be possible to get any retrofit for vessels’ hulls and mechanisms.

All those projects will require essential efforts in the part of providing shipping security and, first of all, strict scheduling of shipping in the Kola Bay, in the port’s water area and at the approaches to it.

Interviewed by Olga Loskutova

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# 4(14), 2005