Russia plans shipbuilding boost

Andrey Shalyov, Norwegian Barents Secretariat, Arkhangelsk Office

Comment by Andrey Shalyov - Norway’s Honorary Consul to Arkhangelsk


Modernization of Russian shipbuilding will be realized in partnership with Korea and Singapore.

The leader of Russian shipbuilding industry – United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) launches its ambitious program that might return competitiveness to this sector of Russian economy. This sector today includes over 1 thousand of companies and employs more than 450 thousand of specialists.

The USC was established in 2007 with 100% state ownership and now administrates 80% of all new projects in shipbuilding industry. It owns more than 30 companies in 11 regions of Russia. In 2007 the Russian Government adopted a program “Development of civil sea technics in 2009-2016”. The program provided investments of 140 billion rubles (3,5 billion Euro) which were supposed to be used for purchasing of new foreign technologies and development of Russian technologies suppliers. By the end of this program the volume of Russian shipbuilding is expected to grow 2,5 times.

In the nearest few years Russia should build two new modern shipyards on the Far East and to modernize the shipyards on the Baltic Sea - in St. Petersburg (“Admiralteiskie Verfi”) and in Kaliningrad (“Yantar’”).

By the look of things the main partner in modernization of Russian shipbuilding will be the companies from South Korea. In December the USC established the joint venture with Korean shipbuilding holding STX Finland. The company named Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy will be specialized on the shipbuilding for the Arctic. The new joint venture will buy the Helsinki Shipyard from STX Finland. Also it has an option to buy over 20 percent of shares of Aker Arctic Technology Inc. (AARC), the world leader in development of arctic sea shipbuilding technologies. Last week Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy signed contract with the Russian leading ship owner Sovkomflot on construction of two multifunctional ice class service vessels which will be used on the Sakhalin gas fields.

The new shipyards will be constructed on the Far East. Vladimir Putin during his visit to Severodvinsk in November mentioned that the works on one of them are already on the way. This will be the shipyard “Zvezda DSME” in the town Bolshoy Kamen near Vladivostok. The new shipyard which is the joint venture of USC and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Technologies will be specialized on construction of big tonnage tankers for shipping of oil, gas and chemical products. The share of the Korean company in this project is 20%. In 2011 both partners plan to invest 2,5 billion rubles so the new shipyard will be finished before the end of 2013. The joint venture already has orders from Sovkomflot that wants to build here 6 tankers of ice class Aframax. The first four of them will be constructed in Korea and the rest in Russia when the shipyard will be opened. Sergey Frank, the General Director of Sovkomflot, reported that the company is going to order 10-12 tankers of this class and most likely all of them will be built on “Zvezda DSME”.

Another modern shipyard will be built on the Far East together by USC and Yantai Raffles Shipyard Ltd., Singapore. It got the name Vostok Raffles Shipyard and will be specialized on construction of sea drilling units, floating oil and gas platforms, service vessels and other equipment for the sea shelf. The necessary investments in this project are estimated in 15 billion rubles before 2015. The Singapore company owns 25% of the joint venture shares.

The experts in USC stress that the main challenge for the Russian shipbuilding industry is growing lack of specialists which is already a serious restraining factor. The industry will need as much as 17 thousand specialists to be trained before 2020. To solve this program the USC makes agreements with leading Russian universities and colleges and initiates establishing of new training centers. Last week the USC General Director Roman Trotzenko and Rector of the Northern Arctic Federal University signed in Arkhangelsk an agreement on establishing of the Institute of shipbuilding and sea arctic technics. The new institute will be opened on the basis of Severodvinsk machine building technical college (Sevmashvtuz) which will be merged with NARFU in spring next year. According to the agreement the USC will equip three training classes in the institute. On the Far East it is planned to open the new training center in cooperation with Korean Koji College.