Russian Government to tighten liability for environmental violations during coal handling

Russian government will consider a bill, submitted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, introducing fines for non-compliance with orders to eliminate environmental violations during the transportation, crushing and sorting of coal in ports. If a coal terminal fails to comply with such an order twice, its activity can be suspended for up to 90 days.

The Ministry insists on the possibility of halting the activity of coal terminals, despite the concerns of business representatives and the fact that this measure could have a significant negative impact on the industry. Besides, the proposed changes discriminate against coal terminals as compared to stevedoring companies, handling other cargoes, which are also harmful to the environment.

The dispute on the regulation of this type of activity, and even banning the open transshipment of coal, started several years ago and still goes on. In 2020, the Ministry of Transport issued a decree clarifying the meaning of the ‘closed coal transshipment’ term, defined as the transshipment using the best available technologies such as railcar tipplers, covered belt conveyer systems, shiploaders, reclaimers, dust suppressing and air purification units as well as other advanced equipment and solutions.

In the Russian Far East there are several so-called specialized coal terminals, which apply the best available technologies: JSC Vostochny Port (KRU), Daltransugol VaninoTransUgol (Suek), VaninoTransUgol (Kolmar), Posyet (Mechel), while the most of terminals still use grab cranes for coal handling.

The share of coal is over 50% in the structure of exports freight traffic. Rail shipments of coal to Russian ports in January-October 2021 amounted to 156.9 mio t (+16.6 mio t or +12% y-o-y). About 53% of the total volume was sent to the ports of the Far East.

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