The first loading complex at the Ust Luga port's coal terminal (Leningrad Region) is due to begin work today, according to the Kuzbassrazrezugol company. The Expa, sailing from Ust Luga to Helsinki with a cargo of 9,000 tonnes of coal, will be the first vessel to leave the new terminal.
Experts from Kuzbassrazrezugol said that the first loading complex is mechanized and can handle 500,000 tonnes of coal a year. 'We have invested 450 million roubles (USD 14.5 million) in the new complex,' a company spokesperson said. 'The second and third loading complexes will be automated and the coal terminal will begin working at full capacity at the beginning of June.'
Leningrad Regional Governor Valery Serdyukov is due to visit the terminal today, along with Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleev and Andrei Bokarev, the chairman of Kuzbassrazrezugol.
In December 2001 the coal terminal launched a small trial cargo of coal from the Luga Bay, but work was then delayed due to a conflict between its shareholders: the Sokolovskaya company and the Property Ministry. At the end of 2002 Sokolovskaya sold its 45% stake in Rosterminalugol (the terminal's owner) to Kuzbassrazrezugol.