25 September - 26 September 2019
Gelendzhik, Russia

Argus Dry Bulk Transportation and Logistics 2019

Delegates at the Argus conference discussed the prospect of increasing bulk cargo exports from Azov and Black Sea ports.

The Argus Dry Bulk Transportation and Logistics conference took place in Gelendzhik, at the Kempinski Grand Hotel, on 31 May-1 June. International independent price reporting agency Argus Media organised the event, with OTEKO as the general partner.

More than 120 delegates from Russia, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, China, the UK and the UAE discussed current port infrastructure, market dynamics and the potential for higher large cargo exports from the Azov and Black Sea basin. The participants included representatives of leading companies such as SUEK, PhosAgro, PJSC Gazprom, Russian Coal, EuroChem, Gazprom Export, Coalmar Trading, Rusagrotrans, Metalloinvest Logistics, Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port, SGS, Gazprombank, Mitsubishi, Total Gas & Power, UCL Holding, Shell Kazakhstan and many others.

OTEKO chief executive Sergey Gubinets and Argus senior editor Claudia Perotti opened the conference. They noted the special role of the Black Sea transport hub in supplying export coal, iron ore, fertilizers and sulphur to Russia's trading partners in southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Mediterranean region.

OTEKO deputy chief executive for marketing Alexey Bogoyavlensky spoke about the status of the company’s transshipment complex at Taman. “The terminal will launch as early as this year, and handle 35mn t/yr of bulk initially,” he said. “Volumes will be able to increase to 65mn t/yr without suspending operations.”

The Institute of Coal Market Studies’ chief executive, Alexander Kovalchuk, presented an overview of export-grade coal production in Russia. The country is undertaking a large-scale programme to develop the industry by 2030. The initiative is intended to raise coal output to 430-480mn t/yr by 2030, upgrade capacity and sharply boost labour efficiency, relative to 2015 standards. Asia-Pacific is expected to drive Russian coal growth next year.

Kirill Nikoda of Gazprombank’s Economic Forecasting Centre generated lively discussion among delegates. Cargo turnover at Russian seaports and the utilisation of port facilities have increased significantly over the past five years, by more than 40pc and 24pc, respectively, he said. But the unpredictability of transport costs may hinder the development of new projects and cap the rise in exports.

Participants then discussed the role of Black Sea ports for Russian exports of fertilizers and sulphur, as well as the impact of international markets on cargo traffic. Morstroytechnology specialist Olga Gopkalo highlighted today’s shortage of port infrastructure, while Novlin chief executive Alexei Vasilenko shared his experience of shipping fertilizers from Novorossiysk. Most delegates were of the opinion that the share of container shipments in total exports will increase, and that the commissioning of new capacity will divert traffic from the Baltic Sea to Russia’s southern ports.

At the final session of the first conference day, participants discussed the development of transport infrastructure and assessed raising coal transport from Azov and Black Sea ports. They debated the prospect of changing tariffs for rail and inland water transport as an additional opportunity to deliver cargoes to deepwater ports.

A cocktail reception held in the presidential suite was a pleasant conclusion to the first day of the conference, with delegates enjoying a picturesque view of the Black Sea.

Delegates visited OTEKO’s new dry bulk transshipment complex at Taman on 1 June. The company’s management conducted a detailed tour of the site, which is being built using advanced technology that meets the strictest international safety and environmental standards. The terminal will help meet producers’ growing call on seaborne transport of coal, sulphur, iron ore and fertilizers.

The Taman terminal will be able to handle vessels of up to 220,000 deadweight tonnes. Its outdoor and indoor warehouses will have 2mn t of storage space. Railcars from the Panagia railway should be unloaded at a rate of 212 an hour.