TASS, October 18. Organizing the so-called northern supplies – deliveries of goods to the hard-to-reach territories of the Far North – requires federal support and effectively united logistics centers to smooth supplies and reduce retail prices, the said. region representatives, who participated in a roundtable – Northern Supplies: Improving State Support Mechanisms – at the Federation Council.
“In order to ensure food security in the districts of the Far North and in the areas where supplies from the North are made, [it is necessary] to resume federal support for northern supplies. A logistics center of public-private partnership or an operator or a number of operators, who would carry out the supplies, ”said Chukotka deputy governor Viktor Bochkarev. The official went on to say that it would be helpful if participants in northern supplies could count on a partial refund. of their expenses for the purchase and construction of new ships to replace obsolete ships.
The so-called northern supplies are organized in the 25 regions of Russia. However, the predominant share of goods (85% of consignments and 75% of related costs) is transported to four regions – Yakutia, Chukotka, Magadan and Krasnoyarsk regions. Each supply from the North is sufficient to meet the demand of about 3 million people.
Although the periods of navigation in the North are sometimes limited to two weeks, sea and river transport play an important role in the transport of goods. Quite often, he said, private transport companies undertake this work when they don’t have more attractive offers. For example, in 2021 Chukotka experienced a shortage of ships and the port of Vladivostok was too busy to routinely handle cargo from the region.
“Companies give basic excuses:” China has opened [borders], and navigating there is faster for us. “Just compare: taking a 20ft container in Chukotka costs around 250,000 rubles ($ 3,500), while transporting a similar container to China already costs 850,000 rubles ($ 12,000). So, it is clear where all of our ships are, ”said Deputy Governor of Chukotka.
Yakutia regional parliament deputy speaker Viktor Gubarev suggested returning the federal fund for state support to supplies from the North to the Far North. The money could be used to offset the expenses of small and medium-sized businesses involved in transporting socially important goods between and within neighborhoods. In addition, grants might be available for companies supplying drugs and medical equipment.
“Currently, food is transported to remote districts by private companies; the districts do not have a centralized supply,” said acting head of Kamchatka government Yulia Morozova. “In reality, a company has to make a deal with a ship, fill it out and send it. A major problem is that we don’t have regular transport. We have to rely on when the ship is packed, when the cargo is sufficient to navigate, ”she said.
How to reduce food prices
According to Morozova, the share of transport in the cost of retailing food, provided by supplies from the North, can reach 80%. One of the solutions could be to organize transport-logistics centers in the Arctic. The Nizhnekolymsky district in Yakutia has a positive experience of using such a center. According to the district official, Valery Sentyayev, when a kilogram of potatoes in the district center costs 700 rubles ($ 9.8), in newly organized retail stores it is available for 74 rubles ($ 1) .
“Next year, trade logistics centers will be built in five regions of the Arctic, including the Nizhnekolymsky district,” he said.
Regional airlines could also help deliver food, Sentyakov said. This year, for the first time in 30 years, vegetables and fruit were delivered by air. “It could also be a solution for postal services, for transport across the tundra, for medical flights. It is not expensive. Our institute trains many aviation specialists, and therefore I want our district have the best air services, ”he added.
Kamchatka has lowered prices by subsidizing transport costs. In remote neighborhoods, which participated in the pilot project, food is 30% cheaper. The experiment will continue in 11 other districts, where companies will receive support from local authorities and, in return, set prices according to agreements.
“Best practices are developing and we are using them, but in this case we need a systematic approach and similar solutions for all districts in the North. We also hope for the development of the Northern Sea Route and the role of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky as And, without a doubt, we will support the initiative of our colleagues to adapt federal legislation accordingly, ”said Yulia Morozova.