NEVA Trans, International Maritime Exhibition and Conferences of Russia took place for the 15th time in St.Peterburg, Russia, September 17-20, 2019. NEVA Trans is a huge exhibition for shipping, shipbuilding, offshore energy, ports, inland waterways and oceanography.
In conjuntion of the NEVA Trans a panel discussion on "Development of Sea and Inland Waterways Cruise Shipping" was held September 17, 2019. Around 100 experts gathered to discuss on this current topic.
Among others the following topics were discussed:
Development of the cruising shipping in Russia
Cruises along the Russian rivers as a unique product of cruising market
New cruise programmes and routes
Capacities of the Russian shipbuilding industry for cruising vessel replacements
Concept of the development of a joint international cruising shipping
Education and training for cruise tourism
It was agreed that there is a great potential in cruise business, but there is also a lot to do. There are some major limitation what comes to infrastucture, meaning faiways and piers, and also the cruise ships are quite old. There are more that 101 thousand km of inland waterways in the Russian territory. Modernisation of inland waterways, including the Volgo-Balt water area, is necessary paying attention of course in safety and environmetal aspects. The Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation has given a commandement on developing the inland fairways, the depth and width, as well as piers for receiving the passenger ships. There are 24 working groups working on these improvement projects and the State is supporting and allocating subsidies for shipowners for renewing the cruise fleet.
Pekka Koskinen, the Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Finnish Waterways gave a presentation on development of inland waterway cruising concepts and future trends. In his presentation he shortly presented the Russian and Finnish inland waterway strategies and stated that according to both strategies inland waterways are considered to be very potential and there is a clear will to put efforts on necessary improvements in both countries. He presented a concept of "Ladoga-Saimaa Ring" cruise, which was well received by the audience. This can be built in co-operation together between Russians and Finns. Beautiful inland waterway route, a lot to see and experience.