Volga-Don Shipping Canal

International Marine Consultancy has extensive experience transporting equipment (tugs, barges, dredgers, etc.) through the Volga-Don Canal. Local partners provide the neccessary supporting services (tug assistance, pilotage, custom formalities, etc.). Have you got cargo that needs to go to the Caspian? Contact us today for a free quote!

The Volga-Don Canal, a canal, which connects the Volga River and the Don River at their closest points. The length of the waterway is 101 km (45 km through rivers and reservoirs).

The problem of connecting the two rivers goes back a long way in history. First canal work was done by the Ottoman Turks in 1569. Peter the Great made an unsuccessful attempt to build a canal in the late 17th century. Later on, they would come up with several more projects for connecting these rivers, however, they would never be carried out.

The actual construction of the Volga-Don Canal began prior to the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, which would interrupt the process. In 1948-1952 the construction was completed. During this period, the canal and its facilities were predominantly built by prisoners, who were detained in several specially organized corrective labor camps. By 1952, the number of forced laborers occupied on the site topped 100,000.

Upon completion, the Volga-Don Canal became an important link of the unified deep-water transportation system of the European part of the USSR. It starts at the Sareptsky backwater on the Volga River (south of Volgograd) and ends in the Tsimlyansk Reservoir of the Don River at the town of Kalach-na-Donu. The canal has nine one-chamber canal locks on the Volga slope, which can raise ships 88 m, and four canal locks of the same kind on the Don slope, which can lower ships 44 m. The overall dimensions of the canal locks are smaller than of those on the Volga River, however, they can make way for ships with up to 5,000-tonne cargo capacity. The plan dimensions of locks on the lower Don and the Volga-Don canal are 145 m x 17-18 m and, on the Volga, 290 m x 30 m. There are depth limitations on the lower Don between the town of Kalach and the town of Azov, because of the reduced depth at the sill of Kochetov lock (3.60 metres), and also on the Volga, over the sector Gorodets-Nizhny Novgorod, because of the insufficient depth (3.50 metres) in the lower pond of Gorodets lock.


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