Shipping figures rising on Russia’s Northern Sea Route

Russia’s “Christophe de Margerie” Arctic LNG tanker in the port of Sabetta on the Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic circle, on Dec. 7, 2017 (Maxim Zmeyev/AFP Photo)
Goods volumes on the Russian Arctic route reaches 26 million tons.

Russia’s development of the Arctic shipping route proceeds ahead of schedule. According to Rosatom, the state nuclear power company, shipping by 15th November exceeded 26 million tons.

That is an increase of more than 63 percent from the same period last year.

Shipping on the remote route could reach 30 million tons by the end of the year. In 2018, goods volumes totaled about 20 million tons.

The Northern Sea Route includes the waters between the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya and the Bering Strait, a distance of about 5,600 km. It offers shippers a significantly shorter route Europe and Asia than through the Suez Canal.

It is new Russian industrial projects in the Arctic that is behind the growth. The lion’s share of current shipments is LNG from Novatek’s natural gas installations in the Yamal Peninsula and oil from Gazprom Neft’s Novy Port project.

Meanwhile, transit shipments remain low. According to Rosatom, ships in the period brought 205,000 tons of goods across the route. A key part of it was shipped by Chinese shipping company COSCO.

Ahead of schedule, but still a long way to go

According to Rosatom, shipping on the route is now ahead of schedule. There is still a long way to go before goods volumes reaches 80 million tons, the target set by President Vladimir Putin for 2024.

Rosatom believes it will be able to reach as much as 92.6 million tons by end of 2024.

According to the company, the figure includes 41 million tons of liquified natural gas from Novatek’s Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2. Included is also 17.5 million tons of oil, five of it from the Vankor area, another five from the Payakha field and 7.1 million from Novy Port. In addition comes a total of 23 million tons of coal, 19 million of it from the Taybass basin in Taymyr Peninsula and four million from the Syradasayskoye field.

Included are also eight million tons of goods to be delivered through the Northern Latitudinal Passage, the projected railway line that will be connected to Sabetta, the new sea port in Yamal.

The nuclear power company now plays a key role in the development of the Russian Arctic. In January 2019 it officially granted the leading role in the main development of infrastructure on the sea route.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: The Arctic shipping route no one is talking about, Cryopolitics Blog

China: US sanctions against Chinese shipping company could hurt Russia’s LNG exports, The Independent Barents Observer

Finland: Finland’s aging icebreaker fleet needs modernization, Yle News

Norway: LNG-reloading operations end in Norway’s Arctic waters, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Second shipment of fish via Russia’s Northern Sea Route cancelled, The Independent Barents Observer

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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