Russian cities, coal dust and noise

Russia can lose almost half of coal transshipment.
After a direct line on June 15, Vladimir Putin's attention was attracted to the problem of coal dust in the ports, State Duma deputies proposed to solve it radically - from November to prohibit the open transshipment of coal in settlements. Such a sharp step surprised the business: the ban will affect 23 terminals, handling up to half of coal. The market believes that the idea of deputies will require hundreds of billions of rubles, Russian coal will lose its positions in export markets, there is also the risk of mass layoffs and multi-billion losses for the budget. The authors of the amendments do not surrender, but are ready to discuss with market participants the possibility of introducing a transition period.

Head of the State Duma Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection Olga Timofeeva, her deputy Vladimir Panov and other deputies prepared draft amendments to legislation prohibiting open coal transshipment. According to the document (at "Kommersant"), storage, processing and transshipment of coal using cargo warehouses, conveyor systems, reloading and other equipment of an open type at sea terminals within the boundaries of settlements will be banned as of November 1. Deputies explain the necessity of the law with considerations of ecology and health protection of citizens.

Residents of the Far Eastern cities have repeatedly protested against the pollution of the atmosphere with coal dust, since the beginning of the year the rallies have been held in Vanino, Nakhodka, Sovetskaya Gavan. As Rosprirodnadzor reported in March (Kommersant has a report), since 2016 the department received more than 80 complaints from citizens and public organizations on coal dust. But the scandal reached a culmination only on June 15, when a schoolboy Andrei Bol from Nakhodka was taken to a direct line with Vladimir Putin, who complained about the open overload of coal. The president promised to understand, and the prosecutor's office and Rosprirodnadzor began checking the terminals.

Yesterday the discussion of the draft law in the State Duma began at the expert advisory council, it will be continued in a week. In a response to the amendments from the legal department of the apparatus of the State Duma (there are "Kommersant") it is reported that they can entail budget expenditures, and the project "needs substantial legal and technical refinement". The Association of Sea Commercial Ports (ASOP) also gave negative feedback, which on June 30 reported to Deputy Transport Minister Viktor Olersky that the ban would stop transshipment on terminals, the construction of which was going according to all the rules and regulations. For ten years, according to market participants, coal transshipment in ports has tripled to 136.3 million tons (according to Russian Railways, coal transportation to and from ports in ports rose by 6.6% in 2016 to 142.9 million tonnes Million tons), terminals have been created with modern dust removal technologies that do not provide for "completely hermetic equipment and covered warehouses," ASOP writes, adding that the amendments will close the possibility of deliveries to the APR countries and Europe, and the budget will receive less than 22 billion rubles.

Vladimir Panov notes that the ban on open transshipment does not need to be understood literally: "The draft law does not deal with the fact that coal crushing or transshipment was carried out only in enclosed premises: the main goal is to prohibit the use of coal in ports by the open method." It is necessary to take into account the other side of the ports, he says, jobs and taxes to local budgets. Therefore, the decision refers specifically to the prohibition of the open method in order to work out the existing mechanisms for dealing with coal with industry participants, including the transitional period of the law's entry into force, Mr. Panov said.

Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Energy Dmitry Islamov considers the bill "harmful and not giving results." According to him, it is necessary to fight dust with modern innovative methods, to oblige enterprises to purchase protective props, screens and irrigation cannons. "Today, 23 ports are engaged in transshipment of coal, which will be closed if the law is adopted, that is 60 million tons of coal," the deputy notes. "To cancel open transshipment, it takes about five years and at least 150 billion rubles. To new terminals. Where can I get this money? "Closed warehouses, Mr. Islamov adds, is a dangerous object, coal is prone to spontaneous combustion. From the radical bans may suffer stevedoring business, the railway, coal miners, he says, explaining that tens of thousands of jobs, billions of rubles in taxes and key markets in the APR countries and Europe will be lost. The first deputy head of the Managing Port Company (Eastern Port in Nakhodka and Rosterminalugol in Ust-Luga) Irina Olkhovskaya says that it is completely impossible to eliminate coal dust emissions, but it is possible to minimize them due to the latest technologies. According to her, we do not need a complete ban on open transshipment, but monitoring of terminals that were not designed for coal by the project.

The source of "Kommersant" on the market says that when switching to a closed type, transshipment will rise in price by 70-80%, which will reduce the competitiveness of Russian coal. "The proposed amendments are populist," the source of Kommersant in the coal company echoed to him. "There are no fully closed coal terminals in the Russian Federation, there are partially closed ones, but there are also open technological operations with coal there." The amendments will lead tens of millions of tons of export coal into a legal trap, he said. "If we want to stop the ports, we will stop them," the source added. "But the consequences will be deplorable: coal is the main cargo for the ports of the Far East, and Russia will lose a significant share of the ATR market." "Is it possible that the authors of the project expect to load the ports of Ukraine and the Baltic States, which have transshipped coal from the Russian Federation before? - another source of Kommersant notes. "Stevedoring and coal miners will lose volumes of transshipment and production for two or three years, and Russian Railways will lose". He expressed hope that "the deputies want to find the best solution, and not just to damage the economy of the country."