DEVELOPMENTS IN WATERBORNE COMMODITY MOVEMENTS BETWEEN THE CASPIAN SEA AND THE

Created: 1/27/1961

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Economic Intelligence Memorandum

DEVELOPMENTS IN WATER BORNE COMMODITY MOVEMENTS BETWEEN THE CASPIAN SEA AND THE VOLGA RIVER0

CIA/RR2inUK?

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Office of Research and Reports

Economic Intelligence Memorandum

DEVELOPMENTS IN WATERBORNE COMMODITY MOVEMENTS BETWEEN THE CASPIAN SEA AND Tl IE VOLGA RIVER0

2

This ma^rial contalns/inloroiation aiTec/ioc the National Defense/ol ihc United Statu within' the meantng/ot the espionage/ laws. Title ia, USC.ndtiie/trans-nusslon or revelation of which in any manner to ah unhuIhorlzed*person la prohibited by law.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Office of Research and Reports

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1- Introduction

2. Waterborne Petroleum Cargoes Moving Between tbe Caspian

and the Volga

3- "Through Sea-River" Shipments by Tankers of the Oleg

Koshevoy Class

"Through Sea-River" Shipments by Cotton-Timber Carriers

of the Inzhencr Belov Class

Source References

bK.'KI/DIWKKTS IH wATERBORNS CCfrWODITY MOVEWHTS

BETWEEN THE CAitt'lAN SEA AHD THE VOLGA RIVER HJ1UKC IQqO*

1. Intoduction

Observations by membersS inland waterways delegation in0 of river traffic on ttc Volga betveen the entrance to tbe Volga-Don Canal and Astrakhan* and of vessels of the CaspianCoapany in the port area of Astrakhan'umber of ques-tiona concerning developments in the wvcment of petroleum and dry cargoes by vater betveen tbe ports of the Caspian Sea and the Volga River.

The most Btriking aspect of traffic, both petroleum and dry cargo, on the Volga between the entrance to the Volga-Don Canal just belov Stalingrad and the port of Astrakhan' in the Volga Delta vas its lov density in comparison vith tbe density of traffic on the section of the river farther north between Stalingrad and Cor'kiy. At the same time, none of the vessels (tankers of tbe shallow-draft Oleg Koshcvoy class and cotton-timber carriers of the Inthcncr Belov class) of the Caspian Steamship Company that were Intended for -through sea-river" service between Caspian and Volga ports were observed.

lh the port area off theankers of the Oleg Ko she vpy class operating on the Caspian was observed at an oil terminal either loading or dlficharglng,few cotton-timber carriers was observod loading logs at one of the timber harbors. No other vessels of either class were observed.

The questions that these observations raised are as follovs:

changes have occurred0 in theof petroleum cargoes betveen the Caspian and the Volga?

the tankers of the Oleg Koshevoy class thatto Astrakhan' being used only between Caspian ports andor are they In "through sea-river" service to ports upus welly

* The estimates and conclusions in this memorandum represent the best Judgment of this Office as

c. Are the coLton-tJmber carriers of the Inthcner gelov class that are ccalng to Astrakhan' being used only between Caspian ports and Astrakhan' or in "through sea-river" service to ports up the Volga as well?

These Questions are answerederies of articles that appeared in the Soviet pressost of them ln the newspaper of the maritime and river fleets, Vodnyy transport, from September through November.

2. Waterbomc Petroleum Cargoes Moving Between the Caspian and the Volga

9 the major movements of petroleum cargo passing through Astrakhan1 between the Caspian and the Volga Included southboundof Tuyaazy crude loaded at Kuybyshev und Chlstopol'; Znlrnovsk crude loaded at Tatyan'ko below Stalingrad; and high-sulfur mazut from Kuybyshev, Ufa, and other Ural-Volga refining points and northbound movements of products of the Baku refineries, largely low-sulfur In most cases the Tuymazy crude and high-sulfur mazut arrived in Astrakhan1 by self-propelled river tanker or dumb barge for tronsloodlng to vessels of the maritime fleettankers of the Oleg Koshevoy class of the Caspian Steamship Company or special shallow-draft "roadstead" barges of the Caspian Roadstead Steamshipmong the cargoes loaded on the barges, those bound for Makhachkala went directly by barge; those bound for more distant Caspian ports went rftautical miles by barge to the so-called "Astrakhan' Sea Roadstead" in the Caspian off the mouth of the river, where they wereecond timefrom roadstead barges into deep-draft tankers. Tbe Zhirnovsk crude was loaded directly Into roadstead barges at Tatyon'ka below Stalingrad, towed to Astrakhan' by river tug, and towed from there to Makhachkala by maritime tug. 2/ northboundarrived In Astrakhan' either by tankers of the Oleg Koshevoy class or by roadBtead barge and were transloaded in most cases to river tankers or barges.

* For aerially numbered source references, see the Appendix. The Caspian Roadstead Steamship Company, which is responsible for dry cargo shipments ln the northern Caspian Sea (as well as roadstead tugs and tank barges operating on the Volga-Caspian Channel between the Astrakhan1 Sea Roadstead and the river port of Astrakhan') was slated for absorption into the larger Caspian Steamship Company as of the end The adrainlotration of the Caspian RoadsteadCompany (with headquarters ln Astrakhan') would, under this arrangement,egional directorate of the Cacpian Steamship Compnny, the headquarters of which is ln Baku.

The pattern0 was differentumber of ways. THemovement of high-sulfur mazut appears to have diminished, whereas the southbound movement of Zbirnovsk crude rose either supplementing or partially displacing the Tuymazy crude that moves in Large quantities to Makhachkala as an input for the Groznyy Refinery. 3/ Tbe possible decreases in the Southbound movements of high-sulfur mazut and Tuymazy crude would account ln part at least for the relatively low density of petroleum traffic on the Volga between the entrance to the Volga-Don Canal, and Astrakhan'. At the same tine, an increased output of low-sulfur mazut ln Baku ledimited increase in the northboundof that commodity. The USSR planned0 toercent of the petroleum cargoes moving between Astrakhan' and ports on the Caspian In through shipments by tankers of the Oleg Koshevoy class and, on the route to Makhachkala, by roadstead barge&TX/ Thc remainingercent of the shipments was to involve translouding in the "Astrakhan1 Sea Roadstead" between deep-draft tankers and roadstead barges.

3. "Through Sea-River" Shipments by Tankers of the "Oleg Koshevoy" Class

Asone of the tankers of the Oleg Koshevoy class was used upriver from Astrakhan' in "through sea-river" service, which would have eliminated both the roadstead transloading und the river-sea transload-ing in Astrakhan'. It is possible that the temporary use of two tankers of this cluss for coastal shipments on the Black Seaactor behind the postponement of their use in "through sea-river" service to points up tHe 0 thc only "through sea-river" shipments of petroleum cargoes were those made by roadstead barges operatingTatyan'ka and Makhachkala with changes or tugs at Astrakhan'.

'1. "Through Sea-River" Shipments by Cotton-Timber Carriers of the "Inahener Belov" Class

The Impression that the new cotton-timber carriers currently being delivered to the Caspian fleet are being used only between Caspian ports and Astrakhan1 and not ln "through sea-river" service to points up the Volga and its tributaries* as planned has been borne out by reports in the Soviet press. These articles complain not only that these vessels are not being used in thc service for which they were intended but that 3ome or them have had to be tied up for lack of work. The reasonsthe failure to use these vessels for the purposes intended involve

* These vessels were designed mainly for use In the following service: carrying cotton from the Central Asiatic Republics loaded at Krasnovodsk to textile enterprises along the Volga and returning to thc Caspian with timber for various ports loaded at points along the upper and middle Volga.

reductions in tvo important dry cargo movements between the Volga nod the Caspian that partly account for the low volume of dry cargo traffic observed on the Volga above Astrakhan'. One reason given is the failure of tbe Ashkhabad Railroad to deliver cotton at the port of Krasnovodsk. Another is the preference for rail by shippers of wood from thc upper Volga in the movement of cargoes to the Transcaucasus. The reason given for this preference ia the poor equipment in ports such as Baku, Bekdash, and Astrakhan' for handling cargoes from vessels as large as the cotton-timber carriers. 6/ Such equipment vould increase cargo handling charges and delivery time. Unless measures are taken to alleviate these the situation should become worsehen the fleet of cotton-timber carriers is expected to increase toessels. Jj

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