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The Russian Federation’s Ministry of Transport has reported that the new Bagayevsky hydrosystem is now officially under construction in the Rostov region. The plan for the hydroelectric complex has a completion date in 2020 and will resolve several issues, including improvements to navigation and a resolution to water deficiency in the region.

Deputy Minister of Transport Victor Olerskiy announced the plans to the board of Rosmorrechflot to begin construction in April 2018. You can learn more about Rosmorrechflot in the PDF attachment to this post.

Landmark Event

The construction of the new complex has been billed as a landmark event by Russian officials, including the Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov. The initial planning for the hydraulic engineering structure began as far back as 1948, stated Sokolov, as part of the framework for building Russia’s Volga-Don Waterway. Once the project has been fully implemented safe shipping will be assured, transport accessibility will be improved, and water transport throughput capacity will be improved, not only in the Rostov region but throughout the wider European Part of Russia’s Deepwater System, according to Sokolov. The total cost of the project has been estimated at RUB 22 billion.

Safe Passage for Inland Waterways

Victor Olerskiy commented on the improvements for safe passage Russia’s package of construction projects was bringing to the Russian Federation’s inland waterways. Restrictions on passenger vessels on the river Volga will be able to be removed flowing completion of low-pressure waterworks Nizhny Novgorod.

Dredging operations on the Zeya River improved more than 1,500 kilometres of inland waterways in 2017 as part of the Power of Siberia project. This combined with a strengthening of the slopes to deepen the Volga-Balt to a uniform four-metre depth have facilitated safe passage of barges, which in turn has enabled a new tourist route to be opened up on the Volkhov river.

Passenger Traffic and Tourism

Improvements to the inland waterways in the Russian Federation are facilitating a wave of new tourist routes for cruise lines and other passenger traffic. Once the Crimean Bridge is completed, holidaymakers will have access to a new Black Sea cruise route via the Novorossiysk-Yalta-Sevastopol-Sochi cruise line. As more navigable rivers are deepened, both national and foreign tourists are showing more interest in cruise shipments. Victor Olerskiy emphasised the importance of developing sections of inland waterways for increased passenger traffic in areas where alternative routes such as road travel are unavailable or unviable.

The Northern Sea Route

In a separate interview, Victor Olerskiy discussed the Northern Sea Route, explaining why only Russia was capable of providing operations along the route. Although the United States has called on Russia to open the passage for general use, Olerskiy asserts that the ice conditions in the NSR continue to be serious, with the Russian icebreaker fleet being essential. He also talked about the many beneficiaries of the Bagayevsky project, which encompass fish farmers, transport workers and shipbuilders as well as cruise lines and the tourism sector.

You can learn more about the Northern Sea Route in the short video attachment to this post.

Marine Board Meeting

Issues relating to the Bagayevsky hydroelectric complex were discussed in-depth at the 2016 Marine Board meeting held on the 26th of May 2016 and attended by Alexander Grebenschikov, the Rostov region’s First Deputy Governor. Issues discussed included the environmental impact of the project and effects on the surrounding ecosystem of the Gulf of Taganrog and the Azov Sea.

The attached infographic looks at some of the longest inland waterways in Russia.