Saturday, June 23, 2018

Russia’s Civil and Military Shipbuilding Collapsing

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 23 – Russia’s shipbuilding sector, both civilian and military, has significantly contracted over the last four years and appears certain to continue that trend at least this year and next, according to a detailed new 73-page report prepared by Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.

            In 2014, the study says, Russian yards produced 252 large ships (those over 20,000 tons). In 2015, that number fell to 200; in 2016, to 168; and in 2017 to 150. The Higher School projects that it will produce 108 and that in 2019, it will launch only 79, less than a third of the number it completed only five years earlier.

            The number of civilian ships produced fell at a more rapid rate than the number of military ones, the report continues; but the latter number fell as well. Nonetheless, of the 770 ships produced in the last four years, 434 of them were for the Russian military, both the navy and other siloviki. 

            In three of the five Russian shipyards, building vessels for the navy and for government projects like the Northern Sea Route now predominates, driving out civilian production which has been having a hard time attracting investors in any case.

            Russia now is not among the world leaders in shipbuilding. It lags far behind China, South Korea and Japan, which together produce more than 90 percent of the world’s commercial vessels. Russia in 2016, the Higher School of Economics study says, produced only 0.5 percent of them. 

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