Navigation history on Amur

Amur Shipping Company was established in the middle of the 19th century, in the period of the beginning of navigation on the Amur River. Today the company is an absolute leader in the Russian Far East in the volume of freight traffic on the navigable rivers of the Amur River basin. Besides, Amur Shipping Company JSC performs operational management of the leading transport enterprises in the region united in "Amur Shipping Company" Group of Companies.

Amur Shipping Company is one of the oldest industrial enterprises of the Russian Far East. Its history is closely connected with emergence and development of navigation in Amur River.

The official date of opening of the navigation on the Amur is considered the 14 (27) of May of 1854. On that day, following the order of the governor general of Eastern Siberia, N.N. Muravyov, the first Far Eastern steamship “Argun” left  the Shilkinsky plant with a military float, and its captain was A.S.Sgibnev (a settlement on the upper Amur is called after his name).

“On May 18 (31) of 1854, at 2:30 p.m. the oared vessels and steamship “Argun” entered the waters of the Amur. The trumpeters played “God, save the king!”. Everyone one boats stood up and took the hats off. Myravyov got the Amur water in the glass and congratulated everyone with the beginning of navigation by the Amur. “Hurrah!” shouted. It was a joy to watch the vessels running the smooth river surface” (from the book by Ivan Barsukov “Count Nikolay Nikolaevich Muravyov-Amursky”, Moscow, 1891, page 371)

“the Whole Siberia shook up on hearing the news about the opening of the navigation by the Amur, which it had been awaiting for over 160 years”, wrote G.I.Nevelskoy about the «Argun» voyage in his book “Heroic deeds of the Russian Naval officers in the Extreme East of Siberia”

The first steamships on the Amur were state, rather low-power, low-speed and low-efficient. However, unlike the western basins where navigation appeared much earlier and began with a wooden fleet, the Amur River began to accept vessels from metal. Only some domestic vessels had wooden hulls: boilers and machines for them were ordered from the western countries, and hulls from wood were constructed at the Amur shipyards, more frequently in Blagoveshchensk.

In the years of settlement of Priamurye, all transportations of mail and state freights were carried out by the vessels of the Siberian military flotilla. But it became more and more obvious that it was necessary to have the own river transport enterprise on the Amur River. “Amurskaya Companiya" (Amur Company) became the primogenitor of that in 1858. In the news bulletin of Blagoveshchensk city police “About navigation by the Amur River in April and May of 1861” it was reported to the military governor of Amur Oblast “about transportation of the cattle, 15 horses and 3 persons on the boat by the estate manager of Amurskaya Companiya (Amur Company)”.

Later, to arrange of the passenger-and-mail service by the Amur River between the communities of  Sretenskoe and Nikolaevsk, from Khabarovka by the Ussuri, by Lake Khanka to Kamen-Rybolov post there was a shipping company "Benardaki and Co" founded, later called as " Amur Shipping Company Partnership". The charter of "Amur Shipping Company Partnership" was most highly approved on September 18, 1871 to arrange the urgent steamship service of the Amur basin, and contained 71 paragraphs. The establishment of the partnership was supported by the government: «The Government passes to the Partnership 10 steamships, now standing of the Amur River, under the supervision of the Naval Ministry, with all barges and extra things belonging to them, by a special price». The waterway length from Khabarovka to Kamen-Rybolov post was about 800 versts (approximately 850 km). In addition, along the Amur, the Ussuri and the Zeya there were organized special towing lines, mainly for floating and transporting timber.

In 1871 the partnership bought 9 state steamships belonging to the Naval Ministry. During the 1872 navigation, 13 steamships of the partnership had already been operating.   They were "Zeya", "Onon", "Ingoda", "Chita", "Songgachi", "General Ditmarkh", "Telegraph", "Lena", "Ussuri-1", "Ussuri-2", "Nikolaevsk", "Konstantin", "General Korsakov". From 1876 to 1885 the chairman of the partnership board was the privy councilor, Neronov, who had done much for the development and the profitable work of Amur Shipping Company Partnership. Later, the powerful steamship by John Cockerill firm (year built 1894) was called after the name of Neronov. (in Soviet period – known as the steamship "Trud").

At the same time the government undertook to support the shipping company by granting subsidies and voyage payment: over 300 thousand rubles would come from the treasury per year.  While compensating that government support, the partnership transported mail and the officials accompanying it by all its lines. Due to the opened intensive navigation by the Amur River and its tributaries, the relations between various communities of the area quickened; the settlement of Priamurye by immigrants from the Central Russia intensified; trade, gold mining and forest industry began to take off. It was of great importance for the shipping company development that the cargoes by the Amur River were transported free of charge. The second stage in the development of the navigation by the Amur was related to the beginning of the construction of the Great Trans-Siberian railway line which required transportations of enormous quantity of various cargoes. In 1892 "Amur Shipping Company Partnership" was reorganized into "Amur society of steam navigation and trade" (AOPiT/АSSNT).

With the navigation development and the fleet growth the ship-owners were also multiplying. By 1907 they were 87 entities. The most fleet-intensive ship-owners were the mentioned above AOPiT/ASSNT, that owned 19 self-propelled vessels, and the Society of the Chinese Eastern Railroad (CER), owning 20 vessels. Other state and private ship-owners owned one or two steamships. Among the constructed vessels the largest and the most powerful tug-tenders were " John Cockerill ", "Tsesarevich", "Sergey Dukhovskoy", "Sergey Witte", "Baron Korf", "Vladimir Monomakh", "Ivan Vyshnegradsky", "Count Ignatyev", "Count Putyatin" and others. The most powerful tow boats  (400-500 hp): "Nikolay Adadurov", "Count Amur", "Gabriel Skobelev", "Konstantin", "Vladimir Atlasov", "Semen Dezhnev", "Vasily Poyarkov" and others. About hundred operated vessels had capacity from hundred and to fifty horse powers. And the towing steamer "Admiral Nevelskoy", constructed by John Cockerill firm in 1885, had the capacity of 880 hp. Even now such indicator is quite high for a river craft.

By 1917 at the plants of the states, which were the main suppliers of the fleet to the Amur River, and in domestic shipbuilding there were constructed 86 steamships and 40 motor ships, i.e. vessels with internal combustion engines. The number of the self-propelled and non-self-propelled fleet was more than five hundred vessels. Among them more than 350 homeported Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk and other locations of the Amur River basin, and about hundred were in Nikolaevsk which become a sea trade port. 18 vessels no subject to registration (the Chinese owners) operated at the Songhua River.

The fleet belonged to 159 ship-owners, mostly private. The trading house of the successful merchant Alekseev and sons was the largest private ship-owner. He owned the powerful “Amgun” tow boats - 500 hp, "Gabriel Skobelev" - 500 hp, "General Linevich" - 500 hp, “Neronov” - 600 hp and several passenger vessels (including the towing equipment) such as: "Ataman",'" Borodino", "Irtysh» «Vasily Alekseev", with a passenger capacity of 672 persons, constructed in England in 1896. The Old marine pilots retold a curious story: upon purchase of this vessel by Alekseev, his sons started arguing, selecting her a name. One of the sons insisted on calling the steamship after the name of the governor Gondatti. The father listened and listened and then firmly said, having slammed a palm on a table: "Gondatti, Gondatti... Vasily Lyakseev (Alekseev) and that is all!"

The second large ship-owner on the Amur was I.A. Oparin, who owned seven both towing and mixed good-and-passenger ships and twelve barges. The vessels "Vladimir", "Avrora", "Bryanta", "Express" and "Alyosha" were of small capacity from 100 to 200 hp; "Mercury" of 300, and "Ivan Oparin" constructed in Helsingfors in 1913 was of 650 hp and of passenger capacity of 261 person. After the revolution this steamer was given the name of "Karl Marx". She had the most elegant internal decor and operated on transportation of passengers and towing of barges on the Amur till the 50s. Over the last years, Pavel Erofeevich Slesarev was her captain, and his assistant, Alexander Petrovich Puzenko, was the future first deputy chief of shipping company.

In 1918 the merchant fleet was nationalized. Afanasy Nikolaevich Karpenko, the hereditary Amur river transport worker, was elected the first Far East regional commissioner of the water transport. In March of 1918 the Union of the Amur seamen was organized under the chairmanship of Richter.  The national shipping enterprise was assigned a name of "Amur National fleet”.

In 1922 the government of the Far Eastern Republic approved the interim "Decree about the Amur state water transport" which on 12/5/1922 was renamed into Amur State Shipping Company (ASSC).

The IV congress of water-transport workers of the Amur River basin was an important event in the history of development of river transport on Amur.

The milestone in the history of the river transport development on the Amur was the IV congress of water-transport workers of the Amur River basin, which took place in January of 1923 in Blagoveshchensk, where the fleet restoration issues and the issue of improving the river transport employees working conditions were solved.

In 1928 the administration of "Amur State Shipping Company" was transferred to the city of Khabarovsk.

Later, in 1936 "ASSC" was divided into two independent shipping companies such as "Upper Amur river shipping company administration» - UARSCA/VAURP (administration in Blagoveshchensk, with borders from the Upper Amur and its tributaries to Leninskoe jetty, JAO) and "Lower Amur river shipping company administration» -LARSCA/NAURP (administration in Khabarovsk, with borders from the Lower Amur, its tributaries, from Leninskoe jetty to Nikolaevsk - on - Amur with an exit to Sakhalin Island). The re-integration of above companies in one "Amur river shipping company" with administration in Khabarovsk took place in 1948.

In 1954 due to the 100th anniversary of the Russian steam navigation on the Amur, the staff of "Amur river shipping company" was awarded the order of the Red Banner of Labour.

In 1993 «Amur River Shipping Company" of the Order of the Red Banner of Labour was transformed into open-type joint stock company  “Amur River Shipping Company” which three years later was renamed into open joint stock company "Amur Shipping Company".

In 2007 the enterprise became a part of RFP Group holding and today it is a basic enterprise of the transport-and-logistic business-line of the holding.

 Amur Shipping Company, JSC closed a business deal of purchasing Universal transshipment complex of Terminal Sovgavan, LLC. As SeaNews reported, the shipping company is planning to carry out through the complex, located in Okocha bay of Sovetskaya Gavan Gulf, transshipments of loose and bulk cargoes in the amount of 500 thousand tons per year. In the long term, the volume of transshipments can be increased up to 800 thousand tons per year.

On November 30, the first Far East customs and logistic terminal (CLT) opened in Blagoveshchensk. The new customs and logistic terminal includes the Blagoveshchensk customs post, an international year-round automobile and river cargo check point across the state frontier and a temporary storage warehouse (SVKh). They are based in the territory of Trade Port Blagoveshchensk, CJSC, which enters Amur Shipping Company group of companies (RFP Group holding). RFP Group holding initiated and financed the construction of CLT in Blagoveshchensk.

In 2017 Open Joint Stock Company “Amur Shipping Company” was reorganized into Joint-stock company "Amur Shipping Company" (in abbreviated form - JSC ASC)

In 2022, the company withdrew from the RFP Group holding.

1854 г.

Opening of the Amur River Navigation

1858 г.

Foundation of

«The Amur company»

1871 г.

Approval of the Charter of «Amur Shipping Company Partnership»

1892 г.

1892 - reorganization "Amur Shipping Company Partnership" into "Amur society of steam navigation and trade" (AOPiT/АSSNT).

1918 г.

of the fleet

1922 г.

Incorporation of «Amur State Shipping Company» (AGC)

1923 г.

The IV congress of the Amur river basin watermen

1928 г.

Transfer of AGP Administration to the city of Khabarovsk

1936 г.

Division of AGP in two independent shipping companies

1954 г.

100 years anniversary of the Russian steam navigation

1993 г.

Reorganization of Amur Shipping Company in OJSC

2007 г.

«Amur Shipping Company» became a part of RFP Group holding

2010 г.

«Terminal Sovgavan LLC»

became a part of Amur Shipping Company Group of Companies

2011 г.

CJSC "Trade Port Blagoveshchensk" became
a part of the
"Amur Shipping Company"

2017 г.

Reorganization of “Amur Shipping Company” in Joint Stock Company


Withdrawal of Amur Shipping Company JSC from the holding

RFP Group