The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of South Korea has said today that it will look into the feasibility of developing a port at the Russian Far East to help local companies take advantage of its strategic location, informs The Korea Herald.
The Ministry refers to the port of Slavyanka, which is located 28 nautical miles south of Vladivostok, close to the borders of North Korea and China.
Aiming at providing essential investment information to Korean companies, that have shown interest in development of the region, the Ministry will carry out the feasibility study on the port until September 2019.
Today, Slavyanka is a very small port, so small that Russia’s Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport does not even mention it among its port facilities of the Primorye region. The main port is located at Slavyansky Shipyard and handles timber, sand, frozen fish, metal products and scrap metals, all at a 230m berth with a 6m draft. The port declares its annual capacity at 100,000 tons but does not disclose any actual statistics.
Besides, on the opposite shore of the Slavyansky Bay, Slavyansky Timber Terminal operates at the shipyard’s former assets: a berth of 138m long and 5m deep, a rail track and a warehouse. The terminal handles timber and wood products, as well as vehicles and cement. No actual statistics is available either, the latest info is dated 2011.
Nonetheless, this particular location has been recently promoted rather actively by Russia among the Chinese, Korean and Japanese investors, as part of Primorye-2 international transport corridor that is meant to link the Jilin province of China with Russia’s Far Eastern ports. We wrote about Primorye-1 and Primorye-2 corridors here.
Thus, in July, the Primorye region administration announced that China’s Hebei Port Group is extremely interested in developing a 2 mln tonnes grain terminal in Slavyanka port and that China Communications Construction Corporation (СССС) has already commenced the necessary feasibility studies. The Russian partner is named as the company Berkut.
In September 2018, at the IV Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Berkut signed an agreement with IMT Marine Co. Ltd. (South Korea) on investment and technical co-operation on the project of constructing a shipbuilding production in Slavyanka.
And now The Korea Herald says that Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. signed a memorandum of understanding with Berkut in October 2017 to cooperate in the port development in Slavyanka.
And here comes the question: what is Berkut? It must be a significant player at the port development market.Well, The Korea Herald calls it “a Russian logistics and tourism company”. Some Russian sources name it as the main owner of Slavyansky Shipyard. But we cannot even find its website nor any trace of its other projects…