24 September 2019

Sevmorput and Venta Maersk: 18 days vs 36 days

Nuclear-powered icebreaking LASH carrier “Sevmorput” that left Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on August 29 came to Saint Petersburg on September 15.


Nuclear-powered icebreaking LASH carrier “Sevmorput” that left Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on August 29 came to Saint Petersburg on September 15.

This mighty ice classed ship passed through the NSR, went around the Scandinavian Peninsula, and delivered to the Northern capital eight and a half thousand tons of cargo, most of which were Kamchatka seafood, in 18 days. Now the LASH carrier is preparing for going back and accepting cargo for several ports on the Arctic coast of Russia.

The “Sevmorput” has yet to make at least one more “fishing” run from Kamchatka to St. Petersburg. Salmon catches on the peninsula can reach 380 thousand tons, that would be a record volume for an odd year, and that would allow loading the ship with high-quality seafood intended for the Russian consumer.

At first, the ship was supposed to cover the distance from the Avacha Bay to the Gulf of Finland in twenty days. But the LASH carrier traveled this considerable path two days faster. Experts believe that a nuclear marine propulsion can reach even higher speed on the polar shipping route it was named after (the word “Sevmorput” in Russian is a shorter form of the words mean “the Northern Sea Route”).

And if we consider that there is an opportunity for the delivery of goods without going around the Scandinavian Peninsula to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, located respectively on the shores of the Barents and White Seas, then the Kamchatka “fishing” run may take up to two weeks. And that would be a record indeed. Although in 2006 the “Karelia” and “Magadanets”, not the fastest of the border patrol ships, had left Kuvshinskaya Salma Bay near Murmansk and reached Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in eight days.

The “Sevmorput” test runs are closely watched not only in Russia. Obviously, the number of the observers include our close and distant neighbors who have open and hidden plans for using the shortest sea route between Europe and Asia.

Up till now, some of these observers have calculated the timing of such runs and consequently their profitability, basing on last year’s experience in transporting Kamchatka fish by the Danish container ship Venta Maersk. The run of August - September 2018 seems to be specially planned in such a way to prove the unprofitability of such transportation. At first 1200 tons of Kamchatka seafood was transported from the Seroglazka terminal to the Primorsky Krai. There in the port of Vostochny on August 23 the cargo was loaded on board Venta Maersk. From Primorye the container ship went to Busan due to get the cargo of electronics. Venta Maersk left the Korean port on August 28. The vessel went pass Primorye and Kamchatka shores, arrived in St. Petersburg on September 28, spending 36 days. If we take into account the time of delivery of fish from Petropavlovsk to Vostochny port and the time of its storage in the port, the delivery time and the cost of logistics turns out to be huge.

In view of these facts the owner of the container ship the Danish company Maersk has made a statement, which was almost deadly for the NSR as they believed: “We are pleased to welcome the crew and serviceable vessel after such an unusual journey. At the moment, we do not consider the Northern Sea Route as a commercially viable alternative to the other sea routes. ”

After this successful run of the LASH carrier, statements about the profitability of the NSR for transporting seafood need to be adjusted.

By the way, while “Sevmorput” was walking along the cold waters of the Arctic, disputes around it as well as various insinuations did not stop. One of the small news agencies of the Northern capital shocked us the most. It is hard to believe, but it claimed that the “Sevmorput” does not go to Russian St. Petersburg, but to the American one, located on the west coast of Florida, transporting seafood to the American consumers...

It only remains to add that the proposal to make such test “fishing” runs, agreed with Vladimir Ilyukhin, was received by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on September 18, 2015 at the meeting of the Business Council of the State Commission for Arctic Development from the then Director General of the Development corporation of Kamchatka Nikolai Pegin.


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