Last year, Bronka tested the first St Petersburg-designed KOTTA containers for transporting fertilisers, potassium, cast iron, ferroalloys, grain and direct reduced iron, and discharging them into bulk carriers.
These hermetic containers have no side doors or hatches. Their top door is opened/closed right above a ship’s hold, to minimise berth contamination.
For unloading, a KOTTA container is rolled along the longitudinal axis. Due to no square corners in the load compartment, and large area of the discharge opening (90%), cleaning operations are minimised, or are eliminated altogether for some cargoes.
According to Aleksey Shukletsov, CEO of Fenix, Bronka’s privately owned developer and operator, there is no need for additional investments in port infrastructure and handling facilities when using KOTTA containers. Therefore, he believes that they would facilitate attracting bulk exports to Russian harbours with no dedicated bulk terminals.
In the longer run, Fenix is going to invest around US$140M of borrowed funds to create Bronka’s southern railway yard, phase one of which is expected to be launched in 2020.
The project would see construction of additional rail and storage infrastructure, specifically, five tracks for handling container trains, and one for general and bulk cargoes.