Inland water transport of Russia belongs to an integral part of a single whole, called the shipping system of the state. In comparison with other types of communication, it has a number of advantages regarding the transportation of oversized and heavy cargo. In some subjects of the Russian Federation, it plays a key role in the development of the economy, as it is the only possible way for this region.
History of the development of inland navigation
Due to the geographical location, it so happened that for many years rivers and lakes constituted a significant part of the state's infrastructure. The history of water transport in Russia has centuries-old roots. Ancient sources mention that back in the 9th century, the Slavic peoples traded with their neighbors, moving along the Volga, Don, and the Caspian Sea.
Significant prospects for the development of inland water transport in Russia emerged during the reign of Peter I. He paid great attention not only to the army, but also to the fleet, including the river fleet.
Significant modifications in Russian shipbuilding occurred with the development of industry:
- From the beginning of the 19th century, metal was used to make river transport.
- By the middle of the century, there is a tendency to introduce mechanical traction - steamboats.
- Introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, the internal combustion engine replaced the steam engine and has been successfully used to this day.
In the totality of the use of combined transport, the role of inland water transport in providing the vital resources of the state is irreplaceable. Although it is not able to seriously compete with road and rail means, the specifics of the transported goods and record low financial costs (in comparison with other types of cargo transportation) become the basis for its use.
Mainly water equipment is used to transport goods of the following categories:
- Team, container.
- Saw and timber.
Waterways used for cargo transportation
There are several main directions. The most popular means of communication for Russian water transport, specializing in cargo transportation, are the following arteries:
- West Siberian.
Varieties of cargo ships
Inland water transport in Russia is divided into types of ships,whose purpose is determined based on their functionality. That is, depending on the type of cargo being transported. In total, 4 species are found on the territory of our country:
- Bulk carriers (dry cargo carriers) - are intended for the transportation of bulk materials (sand, minerals, grain). You can distinguish them by the presence of several unloading hatches located around the entire perimeter.
- Tankers - used for bulk type fossils (petroleum products, liquefied gas, vegetable oils).
- Vessels designed for the transport of self-loading goods.
- Containerships - place Euro-format railway containers on their deck. Complex manipulations in the process of loading and unloading operations are not required.
Demand for passenger traffic is tied to the major capitals of the regions. At the same time, there is a direct contrast between the western and eastern parts.
In the European regions, water transport in Russia is most in demand for tourism purposes. This is due to the developed infrastructure of other means of communication - rail and road. In this regard, shipping, which is characterized by low speed, is used only for pleasure trips.
It should be noted that the numerous cascades of the Volga and Kama hydropower plants built in the last century turned the rivers into full-flowing transport arteries. Thus, all major inter-basin connections form a single path, the length of which reaches 6300 km.
BWith regard to the Siberian part of the country, the situation is completely opposite. The difficult climatic conditions of the regions do not allow adjusting the infrastructure between large transport hubs. Therefore, river routes are vital here.
Varieties of passenger ships
Practically every major city located on a river belonging to one of the largest navigable basins has a river station, whose services include a variety of local, transit, tourist and cruise sailing destinations.
Depending on the peculiarities of the water artery of the region, different types of swimming facilities are used. The Russian inland shipping classification is as follows:
Passenger liners designed for coastal navigation along the borders of the state. A type of hydrofoil navigable transport is the Kometa-120M, linking the entire Black Sea coast of Russia, from Sochi to Crimea
- Cruise ships plying between two or more major seaports in the same water area. For example, along the most popular route, which includes passage through almost the entire territory of the European part of the country: Moscow - Astrakhan.
- High-speed light boats sailing within the same coastal area: catamarans, hovercraft, hydrofoils.
- Scheduled ferries used to connect two points on opposite coasts.
- Sailing ships and yachts intended primarily for sporting or recreational purposes.
- Motor boats of all types, designed for amateur walks, fishing.
River special transport
The so-called technical water transport includes all those vessels that are not engaged in the transportation of passengers, transportation of goods and fishing operations. They, in turn, are divided into several classifications:
- Serving the transport fleet and home port (pilot boats, raid tugs, river icebreakers).
- Vessels used by emergency services (water transport EMERCOM of Russia, firefighting, rescue ships).
Advantages and disadvantages of river transport
Despite the fact that domestic freight transportation remains profitable, this type of communication is teetering on the verge of extinction. This is explained by the long-term problems of the industry, one of which is an outdated fleet of swimming facilities. Based on information taken from the website of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, only the 4th part of the ships is in perfect condition.
In addition to the above information, among the main advantages and disadvantages of water transport in Russia, there are a number of factors that negatively affect its demand:
- Slow movement speed.
- Seasonal use. Most of the water bodies of the Russian Federation are ice-bound during the cold season, which prevents regular movementstransport.
- Restriction of movement is connected with the channel of the reservoir. In most cases, you have to use multimodal (combination of several modes of transport) transportation.
- Direct dependence on the weather conditions of the region.
- Pollution of the country's waterways.
Of the advantages competing with negative characteristics, the following can be noted:
- The route runs along the paths of natural origin. There is no need for funds for the construction of roads or the laying of railways.
- Low financial costs due to minimal energy consumption.
- High carrying capacity compared to other modes of transport.
The current state of water transport
The role played by inland water transport in the economy of the Russian Federation is determined not by the amount of cargo and passengers transported, but by the unique significance of its functions. As mentioned earlier, life in remote areas of Siberia and the Far East without it may be in jeopardy.
However, at the moment, there are progressive problems in this segment that require an urgent change in its state. First of all, the situation is complicated by the slow rate of decommissioning of river vessels. This causes almost no "rejuvenation" of vehicles. Thus, more than half of water equipment has been in operation for more than 25 years.
There are also problems in the structure of Russian transport. Full tonnage of self-propelledships accounts for almost 50% of the total carrying capacity. The key mistake of the Russian system is the irrational use of the so-called "tractors". For example, if in our country 1 pusher pulls 2-3 barges, in the United States it has at least 7 trailers, which significantly reduces the total mileage of the vessel.
Thus, the technical condition and prospects for the development of water transport in Russia leave much to be desired. In recent years, the country's leadership has done a lot of work regarding the revival of the civilian river fleet, but its results have not yet been made public.
Accidents on inland waters in 2018
The age problems of ships in service are partly the reasons for the recent increase in emergencies:
- 03/01/2018 - fire on the double-deck passenger ship "Nerei", moored in the Southern River Port.
- 29.06.2018 - fire in the engine room of the high-speed motor ship "Barguzin" in Irkutsk.
- 13.07.2018 – 2 sunken high-speed hydrofoils in the water area of the New Bay on the Moscow River.
These are far from all the tragic events in which people suffered. Based on this, a decision was made to tighten control over the technical condition and availability of a compulsory insurance policy for water transport in Russia. This, to some extent, will reduce the likelihood of the appearance of faulty ships in the waters of large settlements.