31 October 2017

Growth continues at Vanino Bulk Terminal

Located at the junction of the deep-water Muchke Bay and the outermost point of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM), the Vanino Bulk Terminal (a SUEK subsidiary) is one of the newest and most modern coal terminals in Russia. With a design capacity of 12 million tonnes per year, today the Vanino Bulk Terminal is equipped with powerful high-tech transhipment equipment and capable of processing more than 20 million tonnes of coal per year.

Vladimir Shapoval, General Director of Vanino Bulk Terminal, presents a review of the terminal’s performance in 2016 and its development prospects.

"M": Vladimir Mikhailovich, what were the cargo turnover KPIs at Vanino Bulk Terminal last year, what about volumes? How did the terminal's volumes affect the financial performance of Vanino Bulk Terminal?

- 2016 was one of the brightest in the history of the Vanino Bulk Terminal. We had several important events for the company and the economy of the entire region. On 18 October 2016, the terminal reached a milestone – its 100 millionth tonne of coal. For a port that is only 8 years old, this is a record. Such a feat had never been achieved by a Russian coal port. This was the result of a properly implemented programme to modernise production, which comprised some unique engineering solutions from our specialists.

As for the figures themselves, the plan for 2016 was 19 million tonnes and we processed 19.58 million. This is decent performance, and the port still has growth and development potential. The increase in coal processing volumes in 2016 generated positive financial and economic effects with net profit growing by 30% compared to 2015.

“Morvesti”: It is well known that the Vanino Bulk Terminal is constantly developing and improving its transhipment capacity. What new equipment appeared recently, after the installation of the automated shunter and the modernisation of positioners and other imported equipment?

- A modern seaport always lives in a constant state of improvement – it is impossible to work effectively without this. Technology does not stand still, new advancements emerge and it is necessary to stay one-step ahead in order to remain competitive. The Vanino Bulk Terminal applies the best initiatives from both Russian and global scientists and engineers to improve production efficiency.

Our own engineers stand behind many of the developments. The Vanino Bulk Terminal engineers are already working on developments for 2019-2020. New equipment is designed for the future with plans for the next 2-3 years already assuming new capacity.

In 2016 the terminal’s port fleet was expanded with a new ASD tug, the Khakas. To date, our port fleet is the most modern in the Far East. In addition to the Khakas it includes three other ASD tugs – the Tugnui, Urgal, and Chara. These four tugboats have a total capacity of 13,100 kW, all built according to Dutch designs. Today, the Khakas is the most advanced and powerful tugboat in the waters around the ports of Vanino and Sovetskaya Gavan. Its acquisition has given Vanino Bulk Terminal a leading position among tugboat operators. 

Another significant project which we began implementing is the renewal of the diesel locomotive fleet at the terminal’s railyard. We built a new railway station to prepare trains for shipments, before the Far Eastern Railway. This requires a more powerful and modern fleet of diesel locomotives.

In 2016 we purchased two powerful TM-7 diesel locomotives. We took delivery of another one this year and one more will arrive in June. Seven new diesel locomotives will ultimately be purchased, which will significantly increase the capacity of the entire railway operations.

Today, coal buyers around the world are emphasising the importance of coal quality. To ensure our customers only receive quality coal, in addition to existing equipment, we purchased six additional powerful magnetic separators from the German producer Wagner Magnete to remove metal debris from coal.

“Morvesti”: Which new facilities started operating (following the start-up of the rail spur at the terminal's railway station, etc.)? Generally, how has the upgrade of the port's railway and railway infrastructure affected the performance of the port this year? What do you expect over the medium-term?

On 23 December 2016, Vanino Bulk Terminal commissioned its Terminal-2 station, a shunting yard for the preparation of empty wagons and departure operations. This facility represents the second stage of the classification yard and has access to the main connection line of the Toki railyard and a two-way section with the Terminal-1 station. This increases the capacity of the yard by allowing an additional 4-5 loaded trains.

This was preceded by another, no less important, event. In June 2016, the first connecting rail spur line between the Toki freight yard and the Vanino terminal station was commissioned. The rail line is 3.5 km long and includes all necessary infrastructure, such as a highway overpass, a parallel road and power supply. The first expansion of the railway infrastructure began in April 2013, the second in December 2015. The total cost amounted to RUB 2.5 billion. To date, the Vanino Terminal owns 42 km of train tracks, with maintenance carried out by the company’s 12 wholly owned locomotives.

This is one of the company’s most ambitious projects after the construction of the terminal. The first and second parts of the upgrade programme will allow the terminal to process 24 million tonnes of coal per year, create new jobs, and increase tax revenues for budgets at different levels. This will positively affect the main transport artery linking the Vanino area and the Toki station, as it will increase railcar flows, while eliminating track routing and allocation issues on the national rail lines.

The railway congestion issue is not limited to the Vanino region, but affects the entire Far East. In particular, on its own, the Vanino Bulk Terminal, with a port design capacity of 12 million tonnes is currently processing 20 million tonnes. Therefore, the importance of implementing this project should not be overlooked.

The project was highly commended at the national competition Best Project of the Year – 2016, where it-took second place in the category Megaproject, second only to Russian nuclear engineers. In fact, in its sector, the Vanino Bulk Terminal is the best in Russia.

Another one of the company’s achievement tackles congestion on the Far Eastern Railway. In 2016, the Vanino Bulk Terminal was the best performer among Russian ports in railcar turnover. We managed to achieve a car turnover speed of 0.76 days, or 18.24 hours. This speed allows us to reduce the number of wagons in circulation on the Far Eastern Railway lines, which increased turnover by 5% in 2016. Obviously, this is to the merit of both railway crews and our port workers.

“Morvesti”: What are the company's future development plans for the Vanino Bulk Terminal? How do you assess the pace of this upgrade programme taking into account the crisis phenomena? Are there any factors impeding the implementation of your plans?

- At some point over the next 2-3 years Vanino Bulk Terminal should be able to process 24 million tonnes of coal per year. We are currently working on a project to increase the processing capacity of the port to 30 million tonnes.

Since the terminal is located on limited territory, without any room for additional space, we must increase the capacity of existing equipment. We have ordered a programme from specialists in Germany, which, depending on any changes in input parameters to the terminal, models the results and the overall performance of the port. We analysed both existing and potential equipment configuration and concluded that the processing capacity of the port could be increased to 30 million tonnes of coal per year. And this is already practically proven.

On 19 May 2017, the Vanino Bulk Terminal set a Russian record by unloading 1,400 railcars in a day – a first for any Russian port. 1,400 railcars per day is the operating rate of a 30 million tonne per year terminal. As you can see, there is nothing impossible with this figure. This is our goal, we are confidently going toward it and we will definitely reach it on schedule.

In order to improve the quality of shipped products, crushers will be replaced with the most advanced models available in the world, which will guarantee 100% of the required quality. The screen will also be decommissioned and the crushing building, will receive two additional magnets, the most powerful produced in the world today, for cleaning coal from magnetic impurities.

We do not see anything that could hinder the implementation of our plans.

“Morvesti”: How is the environmental protection programme being implemented today? In addition to the irrigation systems for coal storage areas, the installation of snow blowers, and the use of a dispersion system at the transfer station, these initiatives which you planned to do last year. How is the air quality control at the terminal now?

- In 2016, the Vanino Bulk Terminal won the prestigious Russian contest ECO BEST AWARD for best practices in the fields of environment, energy and resource saving. For the contest, our company presented one of its most significant projects - Ensuring environmental safety. Implementation of dust suppression systems.

This large-scale project includes a full cycle programme for coal dust suppression on the entire territory of the port. The installation of dust suppression equipment in open storage areas, the moistening of overloaded coal with the help of the latest fog and foam technologies, the active use of special equipment for cleaning the territory of the operations, the equipping of the main coal transfer units with powerful aspiration units, and covering processing equipment where intense dusting prevails. The main goal of the project has been achieved so far: the impact on the environment has been reduced to a safe minimum. We were able to enhance environmental safety throughout the terminal. In the course of the project’s implementation, the working conditions of employees also significantly improved.

The port introduced equipment for the dry collection and transportation of coal dust and shedding using Swedish vacuum equipment in 2012. In 2016 we purchased a Swedish Disab Centurion 200/1812 vacuum unit, the most advanced loader for cleaning coal dust in production buildings and across the port territory. The unit collects and recycles the dust, and boasts additional options. As well, stationary vacuum installations at crane and crushing buildings, at the car tipping station, and across other production buildings were put into operation.

Four fogging units were introduced at the car tipper stations, allowing to significantly reduce dust formation during unloading procedures. At the end of 2015, we successfully commissioned a foaming system covering coal on underground conveyors. That was one of the most successful experiments of 2015; it exceeded expectations in terms of positive results. The Vanino Bulk Terminal was the first port in the world to apply this technology. Along the conveyor, the proportion of sheltered coal ranges from 80% to 100%.

Dust is not waste, it is a by-product of production processes – and we ensure it is not wasted by returning it to production processes.

The upgrade programme of the dust suppression system of Vanino Bulk Terminal runs until 2020 and is being implemented as per its schedule. In 2017 we plan to purchase four more irrigation systems for the coal storage areas. We assembled two of these in 2016 from our Russian supplier.

To suppress the spread of coal dust, a water cannon moistens the surface of the coal in storage. It is installed on a modified KamAZ vehicle, allowing you to adjust for wind direction during the irrigation of the coal storage. Dust suppression from the tank located on the chassis is automatic, making it possible to irrigate the entire surface of the warehouse. This year we acquired a similar, but already specialised system based on KamAZ. We look forward to welcoming it in June.

We use mobile snow cannons to cover the coal storage yard with snow in winter. For the first time in Russia, the Vanino Bulk Terminal used a coal irrigation system directly on the stacker-reclaimer. The system is designed to work throughout the year, in both summer and winter. Air quality monitoring is carried out with a HANK-4 gas analyser. In 2016, it was complemented with special readers to provide more advanced monitoring of atmospheric emissions.

Large-scale initiatives are planned for this year, which was declared the Year of Ecology. For environmental protection, RUB 378.3 million will be allocated for the modernisation of wastewater treatment facilities, the launch of an automated air quality monitoring system, the installation of a state-of-the-art dust suppression system at the tipper station, and a line for the automatic transportation of coal dust, among several other measures. The investments are planned for the next two years

“Morvesti”: What are the chances of including your port in the special Free Port of Vladivostok zone? Is there any progress in this direction and what is happening with port services in your area?

- The regime of the Free Port has been introduced in the Vanino region, but the Vanino Bulk Terminal is ineligible for residency in the special zone. To become a resident, a company must have an investment project representing a minimum of RUB 5 billion and spanning at least three years. Moreover, this investment project should generate a new type of activity. If the project is for the expansion or upgrade of existing assets, such as the development of railway infrastructure at the Vanino Bulk Terminal, then there is no development in terms of new economic activity – and it is therefore impossible to become a resident of the Free Port.

This creates an uneven playing field between already operating and newly created companies. We believe that investment projects by resident candidate companies, which are already operating, should include upgrades, the purchase of equipment, and the construction of buildings and structures if the goal is to expand production and increase sales. 

Seaports №4 (2017)

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