On 30 October the Russia River Transport 2018 conference, organised by Viva Consult, was held in Rostov-on-Don. This conference is one of the few events in our country where people who work in the sector have the opportunity to network and share their views. 

The programme touched on all the most important issues affecting the development of the sector. A great deal of attention was paid to the problem of the aging and depleted river fleet. New projects and prospects in shipbuilding were discussed. As a rule, every shipowner makes their own forecasts. The dynamically growing segment of grain shipments, including shipments to complex destinations such as Iran, drew a lot of interest from those in attendance.

Alexander Goloviznin, Morstroytechnology’s Director for Logistics and Analytical Research, was both moderator and speaker during the first part of the event.

A term that is heard often in specialist media recently is “cargo-flow realignment”, whether from foreign ports to Russian ports, or from road transport to water transport. The word “switching” is also used, as though there is indeed some kind of switch or lever. The challenge is to devote all possible efforts to bring freight across to river transport, and to determine how that can be done. River transport is becoming an end in itself.

But selecting a form of transport is merely a means to reaching an objective – the objective itself is to deliver the freight from A to B on time and at reasonable cost. If just one of the parameters is not met, then the goods will be sent by other means. Does that mean that there is no need to develop river transport? No, it is just that all measures taken to develop the infrastructure must be linked to the demand for transport, to cargo flows, producers and consumers.

There are many situations where river transport is competitive, and some where it is simply the only option. This includes, for instance, deliveries to the Arctic, project cargo transport, and export to countries in the Caspian region.

The main point is that the expectations place on the river transport sector correspond to reality. Conditions for river transport in Russia differ from the situation in, say, the Eurpean Union or China. The Rhine carries 200-300m tonnes of freight each year, while the river system of Russia carries around 120m tonnes. But these are different cargoes, different destinations, and different consumers – it is impossible to mechanically transfer European practice and results onto Russian soil.

The presentation and speech can be viewed HERE.