Science and innovation

SCF is strongly focused on preserving and advancing its technological leadership, to retain a principal competitive advantage. The Group achieves this through actively and consistently improving technologies and equipment, developing and adopting unique engineering solutions that set ever higher safety, efficiency and sustainability standards for the shipping industry.

As a result, SCF has introduced several pioneering game-changing vessels to its fleet. The Group consistently remains amongst the most technologically advanced companies within the global energy shipping market.

The Sovcomflot Group’s Green Charter is a declaration of commitments related to sustainable development approved as part of the РАО Sovcomflot Strategy. The document lays down the strategic areas of SCF's activities aimed at sustainable development and proclaims the Company's commitment based on compliance with the requirements of international industry regulations and standards.

SCF Group puts a lot of effort into developing its in-house R&D practice, based on a strong engineering heritage. The locus of R&D activities is SCF Engineering Centre, integrated with SCF Training Centre and Marine Operations Centre at SCF’s headquarters in St. Petersburg. The Engineering Centre team is involved in designing all the game-changing vessels for SCF, both already introduced over the recent years and those yet to come.

SCF’s R&D activities are particularly focused on further introducing LNG fuel across the shipping industry and raising navigational safety whilst operating in challenging ice conditions. 

The main areas of innovative activities and scientific, R&D and technological projects of Sovcomflot Group in 2020 were as follows:

  1. Exploring opportunities for improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon, sulphur and nitrogen oxides emissions:
  2. Working on projects for new types of LNG-fuelled vessels - Afrarnax and VLCC tankers, bulk and dry-cargo carriers.
  3. Preliminary assessment of prospects for using alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels on vessels ordered by the Group.
  4. Preliminary working-through of innovative technical solutions from the viewpoint of prospects for using them on the company's vessels (for example, stabilisers of different types).
  5. Participating in the development of automated and remote control technologies for large-capacity commercial vessels, which involves creating and validating technical tools and drafting requirements to be incorporated into Russian and international legal and technical regulations that create conditions for operating unmanned vessels. In 2020 SCF Group masters participated as part of an expert council in preparations for the first stage of pilot operation, which includes the testing of the basic automated and remote control algorithms on shore test-bed based on the array of data received from vessels.
  6. Participation of SCF Group employees in research, conducting calculations and experiments to select optimal parameters for ship power plants in terms of compliance with conventional requirements.
  7. In the reporting period specialists of the SCF training centre in St. Petersburg participated in the modelling of vessel marine operations in the port water area and on the approaches to the port to determine critical hydrometeorological conditions in the area of marine transhipment centres in the Murmansk region (Kildin Strait, Gulf of Ura) and to identify opportunities and conditions (constraints) for the safe manoeuvring of vessels in the transhipment centre water area in the Kamchatka region.
  8. Employees from the SCF training centre continued to take part in the research work on the development of regulations for bunkering ships with LNG, which involves the development of national level standards that set uniform requirements for all participants in the open market for LNG bunkering services.
  9. During 2020 the SCF training centre developed and introduced a set of tasks for the software system designed to test the knowledge of vessel crew members on LNG bunkering in accordance with requirements of the Seafarers Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping Code (the STCW Code), as well as a new cybersecurity training programme.

Key achievements in innovation and R&D:  

Sovcomflot Group’s innovative activities are carried out in accordance with the requirements and methodological recommendations of the Federal Agency for State Property Management, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Presidential Council for the Modernisation of the Economy and Innovative Development of the Russian Federation. Priority directions for Sovcomflot’s innovative development are determined in accordance with Decree No. 899 of the President of the Russian Federation dated 7 July 2011.

The Company regularly monitors and analyses the integral key performance indicator (KPI) of innovative development.  

The integral key performance indicator of innovative development includes four elements: