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Russia negotiates the renewal of its freezing fleet with firms of the Galician Naval Sector

The contract between Metalships and Russian Fishery is the first one assigned outside the country among a process with Moscow

At 29th May the Russian Prime-Minister, Dmitri Medvédev, announced an ambitious plan of 70.000 million roubles (more than 1.000 million euros, in current exchange rate) for developing the local fishing industry and reduce the reliance of the import of fisheries products. Part of that budget will be used to co-finance the renewal of their freezer fleet which, such as the Spanish one, has an average age somewhat older than 30 years. It is, as assured by the sector, “the biggest naval construction project of the century”.  The “low capacity” of the Russian shipyards and the Galician industry’s know-how have led the former USSR shipowners to negotiate with companies from Vigo area to get onboard the public aid bandwagon of Moscow, according to different sources. “In Russia is not sufficient anymore” to build more than 40 vessels that are expected at the present time for the next decade; specially because 70% of their naval industry depends on a single shipyard: Viborg. 

The Metalships & docks agreement with Russian Fishery Company (RFC) to build a megatrawler has an “added bonus” because, until now, no foreign shipyard had crept into the programme of Moscow programme of fishing renewal. In fact, Viborg, located in St Petersburg, introduced six new freezers last week, all of them of more than 80 metres in length. About the options the Spanish naval José Francisco Fernández Aparicio has access to, the third of Pymar, is optimistic. “Spain count on a wealth of experience and international prestige to face this interesting challenge”. He adds that the Spanish private shipyards represent the second world power and first of the EU, with the biggest quantity of assigned CGT in this segment of vessels, and a market share of 17% and 48%, respectively. 

In Pymar they agree that the lack of experience and facilities of the Russian naval sector may benefit Galicia, although the sector admits some difficulties. “It is going to be difficult to achieve a lot because they want to assign most of the contracts there”, admits the manager of an auxiliary company from Vigo. Another will send at the end of this month the first deck equipments for one of the vessels, that is going to be delivered in January 2018. Both do recognize “communications” with different shipowners from St Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Murmansk. 

The proposal provides that, for ships delivered before 2020, 30% of the construction value of the vessel must be of “national content”, a percentage that grows to 40% as of 2020. The enforcement of each contract implies for the assembly plant licences for a period of 15 years, a “tremendous innovation” given the lack of raw materials. “The assembly plants have wanted to locate technology companies to learn from their know-how, with the objective of exporting it”, so the Galician Naval sector aims to benefit from their first contracts. “There are, indeed, alliances to propitiate particular agreements” stated attendees of NEVA, the Naval construction exhibition, held three weeks ago in the old Leningrad. 

In the opinion of Asime’s General Secretary, Enrique Mallón, “the Russian market has entry barriers but, once you develop business relations with it, he is usually faithful and recognizes the quality” of the Galician industry.  The dimensions of the megatrawler Russia is requesting (the one from Metalships will have 110 metres long) may limit the choices for the shipyards, that’s why the communications and agreements already made keep “mostly to projects and products of the auxiliary industry”. In 1989 Vulcano tied the construction of trawler factories at the request of the (then) Fisheries Soviet Ministry in the amount of around 340 million euros in current exchange rate.

(Fuente: Faro de Vigo)