After funding for the new “Lavna” coal handling port on the western shore of Kola Bay stalled, further construction was halted in the fall of 2020. This was partly due to the falling price of coal and the abandonment of coal as an energy source on the European market. By the time the site was shut down in autumn 2020, the state had already invested 32 billion roubles (347 million euros) in the project and various other investors 15 billion roubles (163 million euros). Now the project is scheduled to be completed and operational in 2024.
The decision to build the Lavna coal terminal as part of the development of the Murmansk transport hub was already taken in 2012. However, the project, with a capacity of 18 million tonnes per year, has been in turmoil before. Several times, the investor groups and financing plans changed and the project stuttered. Moreover, a renunciation of coal on the European market was not yet an issue at that time. Now, work is set to resume and the port facility will be operational in 2024, but no longer as a pure coal handling port.
The Lavna project also includes the construction of a 46 km railway line along the west coast of Kola Bay. The new line will be connected to the existing railway network. Currently, the project is 56.4 percent complete. The financing company STLC is the main investor in this project. One can see that a lot of work has already been completed. During a joint tour of the construction site, the head of the company and the governor of Murmansk, Andrey Chibis, stressed that the railway should be completed by 2023.
“We all want the project to have the necessary funds and construction to resume. Using the potential of the ice-free port in the north of Russia is one of our strategic priorities, especially with regard to the development of the North Sea route. Now the main task is to complete the railway. Solutions for this have been found and a lot of work has been done on this. It is great that today we are also talking about the expansion of the cargo offer of the port of Lavna and other ports that we still want to build,” commented Andrey Chibis, Governor of the Murmansk Region.
It is planned that the port of Lavna, which was originally planned as a coal terminal, will additionally be designed for the handling of general cargo and containers.
Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal
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