Shipbuilding: Achievements and Innovations


Shipbuilding industry as the main instrument of Arctic exploration

“The Northern Sea Route project — its specifications are approved, the funding is determined, and the implementation schedule is developed. The total demand for fleet, including icebreakers, transport and support vessels, for complete implementation of the project is about 150 vessels, 50 of which are functioning,” Yuriy Tsvetkov, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation; Head, The Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport.

“It’s not only all-year-round trans-shipment of loose and liquid cargoes that’s important for us. We are concerned about drilling platforms, about their current shortage. We need to build both drilling platforms and ice-resistant platforms, either near-fault or semi-submersible platforms. This challenge is being transferred to the shipbuilding industry,” Kirill Molodtsov, Aide to the Chief of Staff, Presidential Executive Office

“In 2018, mineral resource products accounted for 96% of the Northern Sea Route [workload], it is not going to change by 2024. According to the Ministry of Environment, hydrocarbons will make more that 70 million tonnes, and oil and gas production companies claim that the turnovers may dramatically increase. Shipment of these products will require reliable fleet. The shipbuilding industry has a great potential within the Arctic development strategy for dozens of years,” Olga Surikova, Head of Far East Practice, KPMG in Russia and the CIS. 

Russia as leader in icebreaking fleet development

“Russia has more icebreakers than the rest of the world combined. Quite a lot of icebreakers have been built in the past 10 years. And we are talking about different types and different capacities of the ships,” Mustafa Kashka, General Director, Atomflot.

“The Lider icebreaker is the most complex project in our product portfolio and it’s the most ambitious project. The nuclear-powered icebreaker Lider is able to move through the 2-meter-thick ice with the speed of up to 13 knots, and it can provide passage on the Northern Sea Route all year round regardless of ice and climatic conditions,” Alexander Ryzhkov, General Director, Chief Designer, Iceberg Central Design Bureau.

“The shipbuilding complex Zvezda [is] highly automated, has high technological capacity, and builds vessels of all types required for offshore fields development. <…> Zvezda has signed contracts for building 36 ships of different types and purposes, including the Lider nuclear-powered icebreaker,” Evgeny Appolonov, General Director, Lazurit Central Design Bureau. 


No year-round navigation on Northern Sea Route

“Rosatomflot is consolidating the functions of the sole infrastructure operator of the ice-breaking fleet to provide ongoing year-round navigation for continuous shipments. The existing icebreaking fleet, however, can only work in the western sector of the Arctic, the eastern routes are only used during the summer/autumn season. And part of the icebreaking fleet will be disposed in the near future,” Olga Surikova, Head of Far East Practice, KPMG in Russia and the CIS. 

Limited capacities of diesel-powered icebreakers

“As long as the icebreaker is in operation for a short time and used for rescue operations, diesel-powered icebreakers are preferred. As soon as we talk about the capacity of over 25 MW, nuclear-icebreakers are preferred,” Mustafa Kashka, General Director, Atomflot.

“LNG as a fuel is not a panacea for all problems, the cost-effectiveness of this fuel has its limits,” Oleg Timofeyev, Deputy General Director for Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, Krylov State Research Centre.


Differentiated approach to using icebreakers 

“We should determine capacity ranges — what is suitable for which region, if any icebreaker must be designed to be used as a rescue ship, for liquidation of emergency oil spills, as a tugboat, to have a helicopter deck, medical facilities,” Mustafa Kashka, General Director, Atomflot.

Stimulating oil and gas companies to invest in domestic shipbuilding

“The Ministry of Industry is trying to stimulate placement of orders in the Russian Federation not only by protectionist measures. There is an export strategy to support the things that have export potential,” Nikolai Shablikov, Deputy Director, Department for the ship-building industry and marine equipment, Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.  

Deployment of new technology and materials

“New objects are impossible without new materials <…> we are already looking towards composite materials,” Dmitry Kolodyazhny, Vice President for Technical Development, United Shipbuilding Corporation.

“The major direction for technological development of the shipbuilding complex Zvezda is implementing the technology of large-block construction using integrated shipbuilding blocks with high degree of readiness,” Evgeny Appolonov, General Director, Lazurit Central Design Bureau.

“Today, there are materials <…> that make welding technology, etc. cheaper. <…> Solid bodies for all icebreakers made from our materials, their lifespan is over 30 years. Materials that we have in Russia today, other countries don’t have them,” Alexey Oryshchenko, Director General, National Research Centre ‘Kurchatov Institute’ – Prometey Central Research Institute of Structural Materials