Vladimir Putin: Mr Rakhmanov, let us talk about the industry’s performance in the period under review. Please, go ahead.
Alexei Rakhmanov: Mr Putin, the industry and my corporation worked stably throughout 2020 despite the pandemic.
Our 2020 earnings were somewhat less by comparison with 2019, but the decline was less than one percent.
Vladimir Putin: The order portfolio is good.
Alexei Rakhmanov: The order portfolio is very good: we are booked up until 2028 thanks to the support measures that were extended to the industry by the Ministry of Industry and the Government as a whole.
Last year, we commissioned eleven naval ships, which is one of our best results. We continue tightening the discipline to meet project deadlines. But we are dependent on suppliers of large-size equipment who let us down rather significantly. But I hope the situation will gradually improve.
As far as civilian shipbuilding is concerned, we have commissioned 20 vessels, as I reported to you earlier. This is one of our best results and the civilian shipbuilding segment boosted its earnings. This is actually 21 percent of the 50-percent target that you have directed us to achieve.
The corporation is focusing on optimising costs. This year, we have managed to save nearly 18 billion rubles, by comparison with 2019, through technological improvement initiatives, optimisation of procurement procedures and financial tools that largely help us to implement our projects.
We are zealously working on new products. In the case of civilian shipbuilding, I am referring to the opening of basically new segments, including, for example, small boats, which few businesses have dealt with in a systematic way, and, accordingly, solutions for Russian cities as regards riverboats and cruise ships.
We are focusing on the South-North corridor, primarily the Caspian Sea. This year, we are starting to design a container ship that will ply the Caspian Sea with Helsinki as its final destination. In this way, we will be opening up routes that do not depend on foreigners.
Vladimir Putin: To Helsinki via the Caspian Sea?
Alexei Rakhmanov: Yes. It is possible to load cargo in northern Iran or western China and take it to Helsinki via the Olya port [in Russia]. It will take the ship only seven or eight days to reach Helsinki from Olya at 19 kilometres per hour. Moreover, there will be no problems with Somali pirates or ships blocking the Suez Canal.
This is, in fact, a real alternative. The main question is the cost of this shipment. We are working on it jointly with shipping companies.
Vladimir Putin: The Volga – and then?
Alexei Rakhmanov: The Volga, and then the Volga-Baltic Waterway, the Moscow Canal, from which we will move north and then on directly to St Petersburg. If necessary, we can go as far as the White Sea, which is possible. The scale is a bit smaller there, therefore the payload will be smaller as well.
Vladimir Putin: Are the water control structures working well there?
Alexei Rakhmanov: Our biggest problems are near the city of Gorodets near Nizhny Novgorod. Unfortunately, the draft is no more than 2.6 metres there, whereas we need a 3.6 metres cargo draft to meet the requirements of our main shipping companies and passenger liners.
We are working actively with young people. We have started shipbuilding classes in Nizhny Novgorod.
Vladimir Putin: This is a good thing.
Alexei Rakhmanov: Our local shipyard, Krasnoye Sormovo, has become the pacesetter in this sphere. They are doing very well.
Our interest in this project is growing. As you are aware, there are troubled teenagers, but after visiting our process enterprise, which is focused on introducing lean production methods, they said they no longer wanted to enrol at universities but wanted to work in industries. This is wonderful.
Our other achievement is young engineers and designers. The final part of my presentation includes the results of a creative contest we held for the students of arts and design classes – you can see it now. This is how our young people think. In fact, this is excellent, because it gives us hope that our shipbuilding industry has a very bright and huge future.
Vladimir Putin: Very good, Mr Rakhmanov. Thank you.