Murmansk Coal Port – what next? | Polarjournal
Moving the coal transshipment to the other side of Kola Bay would minimize significantly the fine dust pollution in the city of Murmansk. (Foto: Heiner Kubny)

Work on the 46 km long railway line as a feeder road to the coal terminal at Lavna on the west side of Kola Bay was stopped this autumn. Completion has been stalled for some time. Now the ministry has cancelled the contract for the construction of the railways. With Europe’s coal market in sharp decline, Russia’s new huge coal export port is already in acute danger.

In autumn, construction work on the railway line to Lavna Coal Port and the bridge over the Tuloma River were halted. Photo: Igor Grovmov)

The project of the great port of Lavna is facing new challenges. The Ministry of Transport has decided in agreement with the parties to terminate the contract over 45 billion rubles for the construction of the railway line to the port. To date, the contractor already has completed work for 26 billion rubles. A new call for tenders must be carried out now, which has already been postponed repeatedly. This could potentially prolong the implementation of the project. This was reported last week by the Kommersant newspaper.

At the same time, Prime Minister Mikhail Mischustin instructed the Ministry of Transport, the Russian Railways and the STLC to submit proposals for the construction of the Lavna terminal and the railway line by December 10. Kommersant’s columnists believe that by this date, only a kind of ‘interim decision’ will be prepared most likely.

The Prime Minister Mikhail Mischustin demands that the companies involved submit new projects for the further development and realization of the railway line, as well as the port facility. (Photo: Dmitry Astakhov)

Mineral fertilizer and iron ore could save the project.

Businessman Viktor Olersky announced at a meeting of the State Commission for the Arctic on October 15 that the port facility was of paramount need and that the construction of the railway should be completed in time. The businessman noted that it was planned to reload up to 6 million tons of fertilizer at the terminal by 2023. If the railway is not yet built at this time, he would experience heavy losses. According to Kommersant’s columnists, consideration was also given to the possibility of handling iron ore concentrate.

The Murmansk transport hub is one of the most funded infrastructure and business development projects in the Russian north, and these plans are described in detail in almost all Arctic strategy reports and most presentations that Murmansk officials have given at national and international conferences for more than a decade.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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