Moscow plans expansion of trans-Arctic shipping

The Russian government has announced that it wants to boost annual transit volumes on the Arctic Northern Sea Route from 1.3m tons in 2020 to 30m tons in 2030.

During a meeting on strategic development and national projects, Russia’s first deputy prime minister Andrei Belousov said: “By 2030, we plan to reach a level of 150 million tons [on the Northern Sea Route], of which 30 million tons will be transit.”

Belousov added that over the next 10 years, a total of 716bn rubles (€11bn) will be invested in infrastructure that will make the route navigable through the whole year. More than half of the total will be spent before 2024.

A major share of the investment will be by Rosatom, with the state-owned nuclear power company planning several super-powerful Lider icebreaking vessels. Rosatom is also in the process of signing an agreement with DP World, the Emirati logistics company, on Arctic container vessels, some of which could be nuclear-powered.

Currently the bulk of the Arctic shipping volumes are by LNG carriers. In the last week of July, five major tankers were sailing on the route from the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya and the Bering Strait, with several heading eastwards from the Sabetta export terminal to China.

Andrew Cox

During the 1990s, Dr Andrew Cox was the editor of UK Coal Review and was a regular writer and commentator on the international coal trade and related infrastructure developments. Post-2000, he has been a freelance writer, CPD trainer and project consultant. He focuses on developments in the energy, chemicals, shipping and port sectors.
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