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ST. PETERSBURG, October 24 (Itar-Tass) —— St. Petersburg’s Big Port will develop further as one of the leading container harbours in the Baltic region and will be able to hand up to four million TEUs annually by 2018, Deputy Transport Minister Viktor Olersky said.
On Monday, October 24, he attended the opening ceremony at a new high-tech terminal that can handle up to 0.5 million TEUs a year. The first container was loaded aboard a large-capacity steamship flying a Panamanian flag.
“The new terminal was built with investors’ money. But I think that its further development will proceed with the participation of budget funding. For example, it can be used to build infrastructure at the port, railway and automobile access ways to the piers,” Olersky said.
The commissioning of the new facility will “make port terminals in North-West Russia more competitive and increase the investment attractiveness of St. Petersburg as the biggest transhipment and logistical centre in the region”, he said.
The terminal was built in the place of the old coal terminal as coal is being supplanted by more environmentally friendly cargoes such as containers, vehicles and equipment. As a result, the St. Petersburg Seaport Group of Companies handled 8.6 million tonnes of cargoes in the first nine months of this year, a decrease of 5 percent from the same period of last year.
Experts blame the decrease on declining coal supplies that have been largely redirected to the new Ust Luga seaport on the south-western coast of the Gulf of Finland.
St. Petersburg’s Big Port is the biggest seaport in the North-West of Russia. It is located on several islands of the Neva Delta, in Neva Bay in eastern part of Gulf of Finland. The Big Port includes moorings for sea trading, wood, fish and river ports, the oil terminal, ship-building, ship-repair and other factories, a sea passenger station, a river passenger port, and also the moorings of Kronstadt, Lomonosov, Gorskaya, Bronka connected with the deep-water part of the sea by a system of channels and waterways.
The port gas access to a railway line and has a considerable number of auxiliary vessels belonging to various organisations, including more than 20 tow boats, icebreakers, oil garbage disposal vessel, water carrying boats, bilge water collectors, fuel vessel ships, piloting vessels, river boats, a fire vessel, and different waterborne vehicles.
Historically the port borders have not been defined, which complicated the work of stevedore companies. Attempts to define the borders have been made in 2006 and 2008, but failed due to the absence of a legal framework. In 2008-2009, these attempts failed due to disagreements between the St. Petersburg city administration and the Minister of Defence. As a result, on August, 20, 2009, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed Order No. 1225-r, the appendix to which listed geographical coordinates of more than 6,700 points of the port’s border.
The Big Port handles mineral oil, metals, wood cargoes, containers, coal, ore, chemical cargoes, scrap metal. The port’s turnover in 2008 was 59,945,000 tonnes.
The main stevedoring companies working at the Big Port are the St. Petersburg Seaport, Nevas-Metals, Baltic Bulk Cargo Terminal, Mobi-Dik, Petersburg Oil Terminal, First Container Terminal, and Petrolesport.