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Murmansk Commercial Seaport making the polar night bright and Murmansk clean

16 December 2019
The second stage of creating a unique dust and wind screen has been completed at the Murmansk Commercial Seaport. A perforated metal shield, 20 metres high, protects the city from suspended particles generated by bulk cargo. Eco-technologies are developed at the port as part of the federal project 'Implementation of the best available techniques', part of the 'Ecology' national project. Its representatives visited the Murmansk Commercial Seaport.

According to the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Murmansk Commercial Seaport is considered one of the leaders in introducing the best available techniques to be used for transshipment of bulk cargo at Russian seaports. Approximately 80% of the best available techniques (BAT), which were included in the relevant BAT industry reference book adopted in 2019, are either already implemented or are in the active stage of implementation at the company's site.

The total budget of Murmansk Commercial Seaport’s ‘ environmental programme is about $48 million. The most capital-intensive project is the construction of a dust and wind shield, which requires over $11 million of investment. This structure, with an area of 1800 metres and a height of 20 metres, provides almost complete protection for the industrial site from the transfer of suspended particles by the wind.

'The screen is metallic and perforated,' Aleksey Rykovanov, General Director of Murmansk Commercial Seaport, said. 'According to our calculations, 30% is the optimal percentage of perforation for our port. We are often asked how the shield can trap dust if it is not solid but perforated. However, its function is not so much to keep suspended particles on the inner walls but to disperse wind flows. According to our data, if the wind blows from the sea with a force of 12 m/s, its speed will not exceed 3 m/s on the city side of the shield. This way the shield prevents dust from scattering around the city.’

Its construction will be completed in 2020. However, various dust suppression and cleaning technologies are used at each operation stage. Eight types of BAT have already been introduced at the port. They include a unique spraying system of 14 stationary and 3 mobile fog and snow-generating water units (this is a record number for all ports of the Russian Federation). Moreover, our 'smart' units, thanks to temperature sensors, 'know' when to generate snow or water suspension. In addition, we use various spraying techniques at certain cargo transshipment stages, special-purpose vacuum cleaning machines that regularly collect dust at the port and from the roads, etc. Potentially dusty surfaces are treated not only with suspended snow or water but also with the use of special additives. Coal piles in warehouses are sprayed with solutions containing a mixture of surfactants and other additives in set proportions. This creates a crust that prevents the erosion of fine dust particles.

One of the floors of the Port Administration is occupied by an environmental dispatcher's office. This is another know-how, which cannot be found in any other port of the Russian Federation. The environmental forecasting system makes it possible to create a digital model of the company's operation, both in real time and for up to three days in advance. This way the company is able to instantly respond to changes in weather conditions and prevent pollutant emissions. Software installed at the dispatcher's office analyses weather conditions, relates them to the loading area and types of cargo and forecasts the environmental situation. Actions are taken at the stage when problems are predicted but do not yet exist.

'We are proactive,' Evgeny Gulyaev, Technical Director of Murmansk Commercial Seaport, said. 'We can quickly provide additional transport in order to handle the cargo faster, or vice versa, stop loading in advance in order to avoid environmental problems in case of adverse weather conditions.'

In the future, the environmental dispatcher's office will develop further by using big data technologies and neural networks.

The system of storm water treatment created at the port is unique for the region. The system of local treatment facilities treats all the contaminated water generated on the cargo district industrial site almost to potable quality. Effluents go through four stages of treatment, including ultraviolet disinfection. After that, the water is not discharged into water bodies but supplied to the dust suppression system.

'Murmansk, perhaps, has the highest concentration of environmental technologies among all the ports in the world. When working on our environmental programme, we travelled around the sites of the world's leading stevedoring companies in Japan, China, Canada, Australia and South Africa. We tried to borrow their best practices and added Russian developments,' Alexander Masko, Deputy Logistics Director, Director for Port Assets Management at SUEK, said.

'If you put together all the technologies introduced by Murmansk Commercial Seaport over the past couple of years, they will make up 80% of the BAT reference book for the industry. This is a tremendous achievement,' Anastasia Mirsanova, representative of the information and analytical support group of the 'Ecology' national project, said.
Another characteristic of the Murmansk port noted by the visitors is that it brightly shines both in the daylight and in the dark. Contrary to the practice adopted at foreign ports where similar structures are erected, the dust and wind shield in Murmansk is painted in bright blue, yellow and orange colours. You can even see art panels in some places. At night, the illumination of 22 port cranes shines with all the colours of the northern lights. Spraying units are also illuminated. Together, this makes the port a kind of a huge art installation attracting the attention of Murmansk residents and visitors.

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