Exclusive: Moscow Dredging Forum Goes International

International Forum of Dredging Companies

On February 19, 2015 the PortNews Media Group, dedicated to maritime transport issues, hosted at one of its best facility in Moscow, the 2nd International Forum of Dredging Companies.

Hereby we are bringing you an exclusive interview with the PortNews Media Group General Director, Ms Elena Snitko, the organizer of the event.

DT: With the dust still settling over the II International Forum of Dredging Companies, our readers are eager to know more about the show. Overall, how did the event go?

Ms Snitko: It’s far too early to assess its results as we are still gathering feedback from the second event participants, which are largely positive. However we would like to receive their comments as well to succeed in making the next event even more successful.

There are few things worth mentioning that might help to objectively judge the success of our event.

We are happy and proud that for the second time this event was organized and carried out in conjunction with “Rosmorport”, the largest customer of dredging projects in Russia and major owner of the country’s port assets. The forum was also possible due to the assistance of a key maritime and river transport executive body, the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation. Of course, their support gave a certain status to our event.

Ms Snitko
PortNews General Director, Ms Elena Snitko

There are ten companies among our long-standing partners, the event sponsors, who have supported the forum for the second time and three new members of ‘our club’, in the best sense of the word. These companies play a key role in determining main trends in the Russian and international dredging markets, so it was a great success to see them among the forum speakers. And I would like to extend my deepest gratitude on behalf of the PortNews Media Group to our sponsors and partners.

This is the second time we are supported by the International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC), as well as the Russian Association of Commercial Seaports (ASOP). Of course, the coverage of the event would not be complete without the help of our General Media Partners, the leading industry media outlet Dredging Today – abroad and in Russia – a specialized magazine GIDROTEKHNIKA.

The forum in figures: there were more than 170 industry experts who attended and took an active part in the forum. The event business program included eight hours of live dialogue between participants and another four hours of networking at the casual evening meeting. We understand that the leading experts who traveled several thousand kilometers to attend our event came to see among speakers their colleagues, but even more they seek to discuss pressing issues, to have personal contacts. Therefore, we do our best to arrange a debate with each speaker, to encourage the audience to be involved in the discussion and also to provide time and opportunity for personal interaction between working sessions.

We are very pleased to note that the geography of our forum participants has significantly expanded, so it rightly deserves the international status.

Of course, it was also a success that we were able to fully implement the announced program and all of the announced speakers have spoken from a rostrum.

DT: The Moscow dredging forum was host to some of the world’s biggest players in the industry. There, they used the opportunity to present their work, innovative solutions, latest developments, etc. Can you tell us something more about this?

Ms Snitko: Yes, indeed, the forum was supported by the world’s major dredging contractors in Europe, the so-called Big Four, including Van Oord, Jan de Nul, Boskalis and DEME’s branch Mordraga. Besides, CCCC TIANJING DREDGING CO., the industry major player in Asia also attended the second forum.

First of all, the companies presented their achievements in dredging business.

Anko Bos, Branch Manager Russia at Van Oord
Mr Anko Bos, Van Oord’s Branch Manager in Russia

Anko Bos, Branch Manager Russia at Van Oord shared with the audience the solutions to prevent flooding of rivers. This is the most urgent issue for the country which has more than 70 large rivers with the length exceeding 1000 km.

Stijn Kenis, Sabetta Project Manager of Mordraga (DEME Group) told the Forum about potential environmental effects of dredging. I’d like to note that the dredging project at Sabetta port is a biggest juicy contract in the Russian dredging market, and the deal has attracted major competitors. The company that was awarded a one-year dredging contract at this port secures a significant share in the total volume of dredging works in the country. The intense rivalry is unfolding for other projects with a lot less dredging volumes as compared with Sabetta.

Eduard Silantiev, Deputy Branch Manager Russia at Boskalis described the company’s experience in land reclamation at St. Petersburg based outer harbor Bronka under construction where the company reclaimed 3 million cbm of material in 2014.

Currently, another dredging contractor CCCC TIANJING DREDGING has taken over dredging project works at Bronka port. The Chinese corporation is a newcomer in the Russian market and its representative Ma Shaoshen in his presentation told about the company’s capabilities and its successful projects implemented in Africa and Asia.

Project Manager at Yan De Nul Group Stijn Juresic
Mr Stijn Juresic, Project Manager at Yan De Nul Group

Project Manager at Yan De Nul Group Stijn Juresic told the Forum about global trends affecting the market of dredging services. He said that creation of an artificial land becomes more profitable than the acquisition of the available one located in coastal area. This requires large capacity dredgers capable of dredging and moving large volume of material over long distances to disposal sites in a single trip. In addition, the risk of global sea level rise poses a grave threat to 1 billion people inhabiting the so-called inundation littoral zones worldwide. This risk applies also to the coastal regions of Russia. Accordingly, an important task of the dredging industry is shore protection, bank reinforcement through a well-developed land reclamation plan.

DT: During the event, some of the state officials announced that Russia is gearing up for big dredging projects. Could you please give us some insights on this?

Andrei Lavrishchev, Executive Director of RosmorportMs Snitko: In the coming years Russia plans to carry out large-scale dredging works, both within new projects and maintenance dredging. Andrei Lavrishchev, Executive Director of Rosmorport told the Forum about the scope of works. For example, in 2015 the projected dredged material volume (including the construction or overhaul of facilities) will reach 30.8 million cbm and 38,1 million cbm of material will be removed during maintenance dredging in the period of 2015-2017 years.

It is planned to perform maintenance dredging in the Baltic Sea in the amount of 1.3 million cbm of material in 2015 and the next year – 1.65 million cbm.

In the Arctic Ocean maintenance dredging contractors will remove 0.9 million cbm of dredged material this year, and in 2016 – 3 million cbm.

In the Southern basin the scope of dredging works for 2015 will total 10.2 million cbm, and 8 million cbm in 2016.

In the Far East basin the volume of maintenance dredging in 2015 will be  0.16 million cbm and the next year – 0.1 million cbm.

This year new dredging contracts will be awarded by the Far Easter Basin ports that are demonstrating significant growth for three years in a raw, both in freight traffic volume and in investments in the regional terminals expansion and in the construction of new ones.

2nd International Forum of Dredging CompaniesThe above mentioned dredging project are very significant in terms of volume, and make the Russian market interesting to the world’s leading dredging contractors, but will require changes to national legislation on dredging as well.

DT: With a huge amount of dredging to be done in just a few years, do you see the chance for even more foreign companies taking part in the projects?

Ms Snitko: Of course we do. The Chinese dredging contractor CCCC TIANJING DREDGING is a good example. However, in the current economic situation, the cost of dredging works becomes a challenging issue. Hopefully, the choice of the customer in favor of a cheaper contractor will not become a trend, however, European companies will have to take into account this fact.

DT: Where there any talks about the production of new high-tech dredging vessel in Russia and what’s the current status of the country’s shipbuilding industry regarding the construction of such vessels?

Ms Snitko: Unfortunately, the portfolio of new orders in Russia for state-of-the-art dredging equipment is not so big. The main customer of dredging projects in the country, which will soon become the independent owner of new dredging fleet, is the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Rosmorport. The state-owned company has placed orders for four dredgers: a CSD of capacity of 2,000 cbm which is under construction at a Damen’s Vietnam shipyard, and three suction dredgers of less capacity (1,000 m³ each) being constructed at Russia based Krasnoye Sormovo Shipyard. The vessels will be primarily engaged in maintenance dredging. The operating fleet of dredgers managed by Rosmorport consists of 9 vessels.

Arctic dredger for RosmorrechflotAnother promising Russian shipyard JSC Zavod Hydromekhanizatsii (Hydromec Shipyard), when the Forum was taking place, finalized the design of a series of Arctic dredgers for Rosmorrechflot for operation on the rivers of Siberia. Now, the construction of the series dredgers is pending a decision.

In addition to Krasnoye Sormovo Shipyard and Hydromec Shipyard, the contracts for dredging vessels can be executed by three more Russian shipbuilding companies. However, as far as we know the shipyards are not involved for now in any large newbuilding projects.

Daniel Garbuz, Chairman, JSC Zavod Hydromekhanizatsii (Hydromec Shipyard), speaking at the Forum said that Russian shipbuilding industry is heavily dependent on foreign components, whose share nears 55% in the total volume. Therefore, this shipbuilding sector, as well as dredging market, are open and interesting for foreign players.

DT: Also worth mentioning was a unique Photo Exhibition about the Sabetta dredging project. Who was behind it and where did the idea come from?

Ms Snitko: The idea of a dedicated photographic exhibition was just literally hanging in the air, since the companies both dredging contractors and customers have accumulated a huge collection of beautiful photos. Sometimes we publish photo-releases on ongoing project at the port of Sabetta on our website www. portnews. ru and we would like to hold a photo exhibition as a gift for the Forum participants. Our initiative was backed by the companies, currently operating at the port of Sabetta: Mordraga, Fertoing and USK MOST. We would like to extend our appreciation for their support and the wonderful photo material provided.

Photo Exhibition “Sabetta” in Moscow

DT: Although it is still early to talk about the III Moscow Dredging Forum, can you give us a heads up for the upcoming event?

Ms Snitko: Sure, we would like to see our event has become a permanent platform for networking of businesses operating in the field of dredging. We see a lot of new advanced topics as well as new players who did not take part in the first and second forums. Having held the second event on dredging projects the PortNews Media Group team has literally plunged into the subject and we would like to develop it further, to have better insights and to become experts in this field as we did it in the bunkering market.

We have become friends with the dredging companies and we express our appreciation for the trust they have put in us, for their help in preparing the forum and serious and responsible attitude to our activities that they showed. We are open to dialogue and look forward to continued cooperation!