Severe Vessel Shortage, Advanced Age Of Fleet Threaten Some USSR Lines

According to a report by the Soviet Ministry of Merchant Marine, a chronic inability to order new ships may lead to financial losses for Soviet shipping companies and to lack of competitiveness in the world maritime market.

The semi-official newspaper Water Transport reported that the severe shortage and advanced age of vessels, averaging more than 15 years which renders them increasing less acceptable on the international freight market, could force some Soviet shipping companies to shut down in five to six years.

One company singled out as in danger of shutting down by 1994 was Kamchatka Shipping Co. A total of 28 of the company's 51 merchant vessels are scheduled to be scrapped shortly, but only seven of the 28 will be replaced.

Some 170,000 tons of vital supplies needed by the Kamchatka region at the eastern edge of the Soviet Union won't be shipped there this year because of lack of vessels, according to official estimates.

These shortages are forecast to reach as high as 1.5 million tons a year by 1995.

If Kamchatka Shipping Co. closes its doors, the ministry is reported as saying other companies could take its place. However, the companies are said to have turned down the suggestion as they, too, have a severe shortage of ships available, and many are unfit for service in icy northern waters.

Other stories from April 1991 issue


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First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.