|Track of "Letniy Bereg" - November 9-23, 2014|
It's late in the year, and most of Russia's inland waterway system has been shut down until next spring. But the transfer of important submarine equipment must continue.
On September 25, SevMash announced it was accepting bids for a contract to transfer cargo (dimensions: 17.7m x 8.0m x 9.25m; weight: 400 metric tons) from a pier at the DzerzhinskKhimMash port facility to Severodvinsk. The contract, valued at RUB 11,500,000, is effective through December 31. On October 7, the SevMash contract bid review committee declared the bidding process invalid without explaining why. Such bidding processes are often canceled when none of the companies that have tendered bids meet all of the requirements set forth in the contract (such as price, dates, etc.); however, the committee can recommend the company sign a contract with the best candidate. One of the companies competing for the bid was White Sea Freight Company (BelFreight).
On November 11, SevMash announced it had earlier signed a separate contract (RUB 89,962,968) with Kaluga Turbine Factory for delivery of an OK-17M turbine (dimensions: 17.7m x 7.88m x 9.39m; weight: 360 metric tons) from Kaluga to Severodvinsk by November 30. The umbrella contract (N/1/2/0614/GK-11-DGOZ; signed November 9, 2011) covering the OK-17M delivery contract is the same contract that covers construction of Severodvinsk-class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine "Kazan".
On November 18, the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transportation announced that the cargo vessel "Letniy Bereg" (IMO 8870839) had arrived in St. Petersburg from Dzerzhinsk on November 15 with cargo originating from the Kaluga Turbine Factory. The cargo was delivered from Kaluga to Dzerzhinsk on a barge - only after portions of the Oka River were dredged to accommodate the barge and its cargo. "Letniy Bereg" departed St. Petersburg on November 21 and is currently heading southwest in the southern Baltic Sea.
The same November 18 announcement mentioned that the cargo vessel "Pur-Navolok" (IMO 8869397) was scheduled to arrive in St. Petersburg on November 20 (it actually arrived the next day). The announcement did not specify the origin or nature of the cargo. After offloading of its cargo, "Pur-Navolok" headed back to the Neva River and is currently proceeding in an easterly direction towards Lake Ladoga.
"Letniy Bereg" and "Pur-Navolok" are owned and operated by BelFreight. And while there is some uncertainty as to which vessel ferried which cargo, it is possible that one or both of them ferried turbines or turbine-related components to St. Petersburg.
It is worth noting that while the dimensions and weights in the two contracts are very similar (suggesting they both may be turbines), the contracts are dramatically different in terms of cost. And that can be explained by the fact that the RUB 11,500,000 contract only covers the shipment, while the RUB 89,962,968 contract covers the OK-17M itself.