Logistics operations and product sales


Asset summary:

Sea fleet
  • six heavy ice-class vessels
  • a sea-class diesel port icebreaker
River fleet
  • 633 vessels (200 self-propelled and 433 towed vessels), including the active core fleet of 415 vessels (131 self-propelled and 284 towed vessels), and a river-class diesel port icebreaker
Rail car and locomotive fleet
  • 117 container flatcars
  • two shunting vehicles
  • one shunting tractor
Aircraft fleet
  • 23 helicopters
  • one plane
  • Norilsk Airport

Transport and logistics assets

Nornickel has a unique Arctic fleet capable of breaking through Arctic ice up to 1.5 m thick without icebreaker support, which enables the Company to provide year-round dry and liquid cargo shipping services between Dudinka, Murmansk and Arkhangelsk sea ports while also serving other destinations.

In addition to sea transportation with its own fleet of Arc7 heavy ice-class vessels, the Company engages a fleet of lower ice-class Arc4/Arc5 vessels to transport additional cargo for major investment projects in Taimyr. These sea vessels require icebreaker escort in the Yenisei River, the Yenisei Bay and the Kara Sea between November and May, with three icebreakers providing this support. Arc7 ice class vessels require just one icebreaker to make and maintain ice channels in the Yenisei River and the Yenisei Bay on a regular basis to ensure commercial speed of piloting.

In 2022, Nornickel signed a long-term contract with ROSATOM (valid until 2041 and renewable until 2051) to engage a nuclear-powered Project 22,220 icebreaker with a shaft power of about 60 MW to make sure the Company’s strategic needs for icebreaker support are fully covered. After these two icebreakers are retired upon reaching the end of their service life (in 2027 and 2029), the Project 22220 vessel chartered by Nornickel will ensure stable icebreaker support for the Company’s vessels and cargo transportation services.

Dry cargo transportation by fleet (mln t)Includes a third-party fleet.
Liquid cargo shipments (kt)Includes a third-party fleet.
Cargo traffic at Dudinka port (mln t)
Cargo traffic at the Murmansk terminal (mln t)

The Company owns Dudinka port on the Taimyr Peninsula, which is Taimyr’s main cargo gateway with no reasonable alternative. In addition, Dudinka is the world’s only port that gets flooded every year during the spring thaw. From November to May, its water area and the Yenisei River freeze over. At this period, Dudinka port handles only sea vessels using icebreakers to de-ice the berths and provide support during manoeuvring and mooring operations. In May and June, during the flooding, the service is suspended to be resumed for sea and river vessels when ice flows pass and the water level goes down.

The port transships cargoes for the Norilsk Division and for residents of the Taimyr Peninsula. In summer, river vessels deliver equipment and materials (sand, round timber, clinker, process materials, etc.) for process needs from Krasnoyarsk and Lesosibirsk. Sulphur is shipped from Dudinka partly by river and partly by sea. Converter matte and metal products are shipped by sea from Dudinka throughout the year.

To support major investment projects, the port’s cargo traffic is projected to increase up to 1.5 times compared to the current average of 3.5 million tonnes, which will require expanding the port facilities. In 2022, we increased the volumes of cargo handled by the port by up to 30% versus the average rate, having invested more than RUB 6 billion over the past four years in upgrading and expanding the port facilities.

Nornickel’s own terminal in Murmansk ensures year-round transshipment of the Company’s finished metal products (primarily those produced by the Norilsk Division) for export, acceptance of converter matte from Dudinka and its shipment by rail to the Kola Division, shipment of semi-products to Dudinka for further processing at the Norilsk Division facilities as well as of procured equipment, materials and cargoes to meet the needs of the Norilsk Region.

The Company also own aviation assets, including Norilsk Avia and Norilsk Airport, offering air transportation services to local communities across the Taimyr Peninsula. The air carrier has its own fleet of 23 helicopters and one plane and provides air services related to the operations of the Norilsk Nickel Group, emergency medical flights, search and rescue operations, and local passenger services.

Norilsk Airport is the only transport infrastructure facility that provides year-round connections between the Norilsk Industrial District and other Russian regions.

In March 2022, as part of its response to the current situation, Nornickel sold 100% of NordStar Airlines shares to the airline’s managers to focus on its core business, the production and sale of non-ferrous and precious metals. That said, NordStar Airlines remains the main air carrier based in Norilsk Airport, providing uninterrupted air services between Norilsk and major Russian cities.

Product sales

Nornickel’s products are listed on the London Metal Exchange and the Shanghai Futures Exchange

In 2022, the Company supplied its products to 34 countries around the world, with Europe remaining the major consumer. The Company operates its own global network of representative and sales offices in Russia, China, USA and Switzerland, prioritising direct sales to consumers. .

Sales by region (%)

Sales strategy

Sales, along with production, have traditionally been a key focus area of Nornickel’s business. One of the Company’s key sales objectives is to promote and ensure a favourable environment for sustainable demand for its products now and in the future.

The Company’s nickel product sales mix matches the global nickel consumption mix, with stainless steel, plating and alloying as its main segments. At the same time, the battery sector is increasingly gaining importance.

To capture the expected mid- and long-term growth in nickel demand from the battery sector, Nornickel continues implementing a number of initiatives to enhance and expand its existing product range supporting the battery supply chain to secure nickel for its future investments.

Hundreds of companies (more than 95% of them – industrial consumers) purchase Nornickel’s nickel products.

When it comes to nickel products, the sales strategy focuses on achieving a healthy balance between supplies to stainless steel producers and shipments to other industries to secure a stable position in the market.

Electric vehicles and batteries are a priority segment in the nickel consumption mix, as its growth rates suggest that in the long term, it can become the key source of demand for high-grade nickel. Given the Company’s wide range of low-carbon nickel products, high reliability of supply, own global sales platform, and long-term experience of partnering with automakers and chemical companies, Nornickel sees its role as a key element in the development of the electric vehicle market and related value chains. The Company is strongly focused on building long-term relationships with key market participants and considers various forms of cooperation with the battery sector players. Nornickel also conducts research in battery recycling and works on developing integrated solutions for the future battery supply chain.

In the alloys, special steels and electroplating sectors, the Company seeks to maximise the use of its product portfolio advantages and improve product quality to boost its share in high-quality, premium segments.

The automotive industry and the production of other process catalysts, as well as the jewellery and medical products industries remain the key market segments for PGM products.

At the same time, Nornickel engages in various initiatives to further promote the use of palladium in future industrial applications.

Nornickel’s PGM products are purchased by dozens of companies, 80% of them being industrial consumers.

As the world’s largest producer of palladium, the Company continues to follow its strategy of entering into direct contracts with end consumers in the PGM market to sustain strong demand. Speaking about the future PGM uses, we should name several of those related to the hydrogen economy. Palladium can find important application in hydrogen storage. Moreover, palladium may be a good component in the systems of hydrogen transportation based on liquefied organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC). In the longer run, palladium may find new applications in electrolysers and fuel cells.

Moreover, palladium may play an important role in hydrogen safety. Among other promising areas where palladium can find its future use, we can name water treatment systems, electronic sensors (including those for autonomous vehicles), palladium coatings and alloys in aerospace and electronic applications, energy density enhancing dopings for Li-ion batteries as well as biofuel catalysis, carbon dioxide capturing devices, cancer drugs and pharmaceutical catalysts, and others.

Nornickel together with its partners is working on accelerated adoption of hydrogen technologies and other applications mentioned above to bring closer a cleaner and more sustainable future and ensure the effective energy transition essential to achieve net-zero goals set by the Paris agreement on climate change.

Product sales

In 2022, Nornickel once again confirmed its reputation as a reliable supplier of high-quality products. Every year, the Company conducts customer satisfaction analysis in line with ISO 9001 to get feedback from its customers. Customer feedback is reviewed and incorporated into initiatives to improve product and service quality. Nornickel is committed to continuous improvement. The integrated index of customer satisfaction with the Company’s products and services was fully in line with our target for 2022.

Despite the geopolitical challenges and related logistical issues, the Company successfully met all its obligations to customers in 2022, having never failed to deliver on its commitments. In 2022, we developed and set up backup routes to ensure uninterrupted product supplies to consumers.

Nornickel has successfully retained all of its major customers in 2022, none of whom defaulted on contractual obligations, enabling the Company to meet its sales targets. This solid performance was to a large extent driven by the Company’s longstanding policy of independent positioning in the market and building direct relationships with consumers.