Vladimir Putin discussed with ministers and heads of corporations the fate of the shipbuilding complex in Russia. Due to sanctions and refusals of deliveries, the deadlines for the delivery of most projects of ships that are currently being built or designed by domestic shipyards are being shifted. Icebreakers, which mostly use domestic equipment, feel the best. And the fishing industry is the worst. The shipyards are planning to support with subsidies, the funds for which will be taken from crab auctions.
Starting the meeting, Vladimir Putin immediately noted the difficulties with the supply of equipment for Russian ships – basically all equipment and components are imported. This topic was raised in the spring at a meeting on the development of the agro-industrial complex. Following its results, instructions were given to allocate an additional 7 billion rubles for the production of Russian equipment for the fishing fleet.
But the replacement of foreign equipment and components in the production of fishing and other civilian vessels may affect (and is already affecting) on the parameters of projects under construction. This is both the timing and the cost of redesign. Some tops have already begun to postpone the delivery date and change the parameters.
“It is impossible to replace everything with imports, and it is not necessary to do this, but it is necessary to achieve technological sovereignty in critical positions of ship equipment, in the most significant production processes and technologies. It is necessary to make sure that as many operations on equipping, retrofitting, and repairing ships as possible are carried out in our country. We need to give way to the initiatives of Russian shipbuilders, their domestic suppliers and customers, support the modernization of our shipyards and provide convenient financial mechanisms so that new orders for high-quality modern vessels, including ice-class vessels, appear inside Russia to increase the capabilities of the Northern Sea Route and our other Arctic projects. All this is necessary in order to increase the workload of domestic enterprises, create jobs in this complex, high–tech industry,” Vladimir Putin said.
The President also suggested setting long-term guidelines for the development of shipbuilding, building orders, and making plans for shipyards based on the needs of customers: transport, fishing, energy and other companies.
Vladimir Putin noted that one of the main promising areas of domestic shipbuilding is the construction of large–tonnage vessels. It has already been decided to finance part of the costs of such projects when they are linked to the localization of production facilities, with the creation of the most advanced technologies in this area in Russia. The leading center of large-tonnage shipbuilding will be the Far Eastern Zvezda complex.
The Minister of Industry Denis Manturov confirmed that the first Aframax tankers have already been commissioned at the SSC Zvezda, “gas carriers and food carriers” for the Northern Sea Route are being built. They’re not doing very well. Currently, 70 vessels for the fishing industry under the “keel quotas” program are in various degrees of readiness at the plants.
In general, the capacity utilization of the industry is now quite high. About 300 ships and marine equipment are in various stages of construction at 63 shipbuilding enterprises. Plus, there are still more than 700 vessels of various types in the needs of public and private customers collected by the Ministry of Industry and Trade until 2035, but so far not all have technical characteristics, as well as financial support and, accordingly, the availability of firm orders.
The Government has instructed the interested departments to clarify all the parameters taking into account the planned cargo and passenger flows. This is necessary first of all in order to accurately calculate the slipway loading. Since this is a long construction cycle, there is also a rise in price on it.
“Shipbuilders have repeatedly faced such a problem, especially when they signed contracts with a fixed price in the absence of a project. As a result, in order to hand over the vessel, they are forced to take losses for exceeding the original cost. In this regard, together with the Ministry of Finance, it was decided to conduct an audit of the accumulated debt. Let’s start with the USC enterprises, and based on the results, proposals will be formed for their possible subsequent financial recovery,” Denis Manturov said.
Vladimir Putin asked again – how is it, the construction was carried out without projects, “why did they conclude unprofitable contracts?” Alexey Rakhmanov, head of JSC United Shipbuilding Corporation, replied that when construction begins, there is practically no complete specification and understanding of what the ship or vessel will consist of.
“In such situations, when we work with the Ministry of Defense, we work at approximate prices. But the budget rule – we always run into two problems. At the stage of formation and construction of this order, without having a project, we cannot reasonably declare what the price will be. Since we are trying to be customer-oriented, in this sense we have gone too much towards customers in order to build, deliver ships, and then deal with money. Maybe this is the wrong approach – I sprinkle ashes on my head, but it always seemed to me that first the Motherland, and then, accordingly, our finances,” said Alexey Rakhmanov.
The President replied that the interests of the Motherland are directly related to financial discipline. And vice versa: violation of financial discipline does not correspond to the interests of the Motherland. And even when working with the budget, you can adopt developments from the Ministry of Defense at approximate prices.
Denis Manturov said that now USC has an instruction not to conclude contracts without obtaining an independent technical and economic expertise. In the future, it is proposed to consolidate this principle at the legislative level for all enterprises of the industry, both in relation to government orders and projects of companies with state participation.
The Minister of Industry said that many customers were burned by the fact that they preferred foreign components and assemblies, even if there were domestic analogues. Now there are no components, and projects have become much more expensive. Moreover, they have to be redesigned on the go. And only for fishing vessels, such work will require additional costs from all participants of more than 2 billion rubles. This work, of course, will shift the deadlines again. Manturov suggested that customers should not apply penalties to shipyards, increase the time allotted for construction by two years, with clarification of the final cost. Similar measures have already been taken in the construction complex.
As for new projects, potential customers will be offered a standard set of vessels for various purposes with maximum use of domestic equipment.
“Right now, the icebreaker fleet segment is probably the most technologically independent, and we will strive for this in all other areas,” Denis Manturov noted. – We have identified critical positions in terms of components, aggregates that need to be developed and put into series as soon as possible, including taking into account the needs of the Zvezda shipbuilding complex for large tonnage. The Ministry of Finance promptly fulfilled the order, another 15 billion for the next two years has already been included in the draft three-year budget. In order to implement several hundred new projects by 2030, it is also necessary to modernize and significantly expand the capacities of enterprises themselves. In previous years, funds for technical re-equipment were allocated exclusively for military shipbuilding. Now shipyards estimate the volume of capital expenditures, investments for the execution of civil orders. Taking into account the fact that the profitability of them is limited by regulations, we may need budget investments, but we need to carry out all the calculations to the end for this.”
Support programs have been developed, equipment leasing with the involvement of NWF funds and a refund at a rate of 1.5%. Preferential leasing is now, in fact, the main engine of those orders that exist.
And at the end of the report, Manturov asked for additional funding to support the Far Eastern shipyards – about 6 billion rubles to reimburse part of the costs of building crabbers. It is assumed that the source for this subsidy will be funds from crab auctions – the second stage, which has not yet been launched. He again provokes fierce resistance from the fishing industry, but, apparently, indignation again will not give anything. In fact, it will be the completion of the vessels of the first stage at the expense of funds received from the second.