Sep 16, 2020
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Even more cargo and ships

The development of the Arctic, which Russia has been actively involved in in recent years, is already bearing very tangible results and opens up serious prospects. Despite the global crisis caused by the pandemic, cargo transportation along the Northern Sea Route increased by 3.3% in 8 months. The transport main in the Far North, judging by the words of the head of the navigation safety department of FSUE Atomflot Sergei Strelnikov, will be able to receive even more cargo and ships, and the Northern Sea Route will soon become year-round.

Development of the Northern Sea Route - overcoming all obstacles

The new trade corridor in the northern latitudes of Russia is becoming more and more popular. Judging by the reports of the Federal Agency of the Maritime and River Fleet, which refer to the data of the Administration of the Northern Sea Route, 20.47 million tons of cargo were transported along the NSR routes in January-August 2020. This is 3.3% more than the same period last year. It is known that the share of transit in this volume is approximately 400 thousand tons. It should be noted that in 2020 more foreign ships began to sail along the Northern Sea Route.

In the first half of the year, 782 permits were received to sail in the waters of the NSR. Among them, 123 are ships sailing in the Far North under a foreign flag, which is 53% more than in 2019

- reported in the Administration of the Northern Sea Route.

It turns out that the sanctions, as well as the decrease in the volume of world trade due to the coronavirus, do not scare away the owners or lessees of ships using the Northern Sea Route. However, such enthusiasm is understandable, because the transport route in the Far North is becoming more and more accessible from a technical point of view. Of course, icebreakers are still needed to cruise in these waters, and you can only sail in this part of the planet for a limited number of months a year.

However, if you believe the words of the head of the navigation safety department of FSUE Atomflot Sergei Strelnikov, in three years, year-round escort of ships along the NSR will become a reality. Obviously, this will further increase the volume of freight traffic.

Russian "tool" for opening the Arctic

It cannot be said that the increase in cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route is fully in accordance with the May decrees of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which speak of an increase in the transportation of goods and raw materials to 80 million tons per year. Still, the pandemic and the decrease in demand for hydrocarbons - one of the main resources transported via the JMA - does not allow the trade corridor to be filled at an accelerated pace. In this regard, the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom even suggested setting a new target for the project's cargo traffic - by 2024 it should reach 60 million tons per year.

But even if the upper bar is lowered to such indicators, the NSR will still remain a dynamically developing trade artery in the world economy. At the same time, Russia continues to improve its icebreaker fleet, which, by the way, has no analogues in the world.

PJSC Sovcomflot recently announced that the company intends in the future to use nuclear icebreakers of the next generation - the LK-60 type of project 22220. Such vessels are still under construction. But when they are ready, it will significantly expand Russia's capabilities in the development of the Arctic. The new icebreakers will surpass the Yamal vessels not only in size but also in power, which will definitely reduce the transit time on the NSR.

Ilya Krugley

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