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Expecting the Marine fleet's day: Interview with the director of the largest coal terminal of Sakhalin

The Marine fleet's day is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday of July. We have three port points in Shakhtarsk, Uglegorsk and Boshnyakovo. This was determined by history that all ports have turned to the coal terminals. But it's easy to explain, because even the name of the area is related to coal. Coal mining involves transporting it to the consumer. And how to perform it in the island without port facilities? Thus, ports are an important link in the Sakhalin branch of the coal industry. And the Coal Sea Port of Shakhtersk is called the main coal terminal in the region. At the end of 2016 the terminal set a regional record in the shipment of coal - 3.1 million tons.

On the eve of the holiday the correspondent of the “Uglegorskie novosti” newspaper met the CEO of Coal Sea Port of Shakhtersk - Yuri Gvozdikov.

“Yuri Fedorovich, what represents the current port of Shakhtersk?”

“Today our coal terminal is one of the largest enterprises in the area. The number of employees is 440 persons. The plant is equipped with modern technology. We're the first in the area of coal shipment.”

“But it wasn't always that way. How’s the enterprise transformed? What gave the impetus for the development?”

“Let's start from recalling where it started. This place - Shakhtersk - was used as a harbour in the Imperial Russia. At that time, there wasn’t any teeming activity, but it started in those distant years. Then, after the transition of the territories into the control of Japan, this place acquired the form of port harbor. The Japanese built a harbor wall. Later, after the territories had been returned to the USSR, people started to work here more activity. The port facilities were a little updated. The shipment volumes were small by modern standards, coal from mines went to Japan. Later the South-Sakhalin HES turned to be the main consumer of coal on Sakhalin, but it was accessible by land. After transition of HES into the gas, there arose a question, where to forward the volumes of mined coal and the response was found - the Asia-Pacific Region countries. After arrival of the East Mining Company Limited (the port is managed by that company), the volume of shipments began to rapidly grow. The increased volume of shipment was preceded by a great deal of modernization of port facilities. We may say that there appeared a new business. We purchased a new loading machine, upgraded the equipment park, expanded the warehouses, obtain our own modern cranes fleet, and completely updated the harbor walls. This has led to an increase in performance. We exceeded 1 million tons, and then 2 million tons per year. In 2016, we shipped 3.1 million tons, and our plans for this year are to overcome the bar of 4 million tons.”

“Can you tell me more about modern equipment?”

“Of course, we are proud of that. Thanks to the investment program, we have recently updated the loading capacity. We purchased two Liebherr loaders, two new bulldozers Liebherr 754 and three front-end forklifts, Liebherr 580. We installed a second new "Stacker" loading machine with a performance of 1.5 thousand tons per hour. We paid for 5 new 14-cube grapples, but they are still on the way. We built a conveyor network on the port area.”

“Besides the new technology, what else has affected the results?”

“People's attitudes to work have changed. The collective want to earn money.”

“Why did this happen?”

“We've changed the payment system. Now everyone gets payment by the job. For example, the average salary of dock worker is within 85 thousand rubles. But once again, everyone gets as much as earned. And, of course, it's much better to work on modern equipment, on new hardware, when you see the result of your work at the same moment. The development program enables us to continuously improve our work processes. But the main thing is people who know that they can make money. Of course there are unhappy people, but it's only a little part.”

“2017 is the year of ecology in Russia. How the local environment is being watched and cared for in the harbor?’

“I would like to say that we consider the issue of ecology with due attention. For example, problems related to coal dust are often discussed in the Russian media. The coal is transported from the warehouse to the ship's hold by conveyor. Each overturning of the conveyor is equipped with a system of irrigation that moisturizes the coal, preventing it from dust. So the coal dust does not get into the water. There's a problem with the dust on the warehouses, but this is a matter of concern. A special project aimed at solving this problem is under development. But it must be considered that the coal terminal in Shakhtarsk was originally built for coal shipment, and the city is located at a considerable distance from it.”

“Who is your team? Are they young? Are they local?”

From this year, we gave up working with non-residents. Practically all of our employees are local. We teach the youth, reeducate the mine workers to dick workers, sailors to the fleet.”

“Do you train people?”

“Of course. Training of both current and newly arrived employees is performed at the expense of the enterprise.”

“Yuri Fedorovich, previously, in 2016 you set a record of daily shipment in port. Shall we wait for something like that this year?”

“First of all, this year we updated the daily shipment record at 32.5 thousand tons. This is the record of the Sakhalin region. The previous record level was 30 thousand tons, established last year. Literally, we have finished loading the latest bulk carrier with deadweight of 55 thousand tons, so we are setting a monthly record of 581 thousand tons in June. The previous record was established in August 2015 at a level of 526 thousand tons. So, two records in the first half of the year. It's a great gift to celebrate the marine fleet's day.”

“We congratulate the entire mining port team on this achievement. Can you separate the best employees related to this? Who worth’s mentioning?”

“Honestly, I've been thinking about this, but I can't separate anyone. Now the whole community is harmonious as never. Everyone can be commended and praised. I’m proud of all the workers.”

“What plans do you have for the nearest future?”

“East Mining Company Limited is implementing an investment project to increase the production and shipment of coal exports to 8-10 million tons per year. Within this project the port of Shakhtersk is modernized and developed. This year, the company ordered the construction of 6 new ships for our working conditions. The first ones will come to us by themselves soon. We purchased a second "Stacker" loading machine for them. It's already installed and started to work. With the new navigation system, we began to "see" at night. Now we load it in the harbor from the pier even in the dark time of day. We wait for new opportunities not only for us but also for the entire area, with the extension of the free port of Vladivostok to the Uglegorskij city district. This will simplify a number of procedures and reduce the time of implementation of our investment project.”

“Thank you for this honest conversation. The editorial staff congratulates all those involved into this holiday on their professional day. We wish you more days of good weather, success and achievement.”