Containers next for Northern Sea Route, new terminal one step closer to realization in Murmansk

(Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
The 42-billion-rubles (€461 million) transit terminal will be located between Lavna and Belokamenka on the west side of the Kola Bay.

It is Rusatom Cargo, a logistics subsidiary of Russia’s nuclear corporation Rosatom, that now has set the summer of 2024 as the date for when a Murmansk terminal could be up and running.

The idea is to create one terminal in Murmansk and one in Primorsky Krai, in Russia’s Far East. Containers with goods from Asia, and shipped along the Northern Sea Route, will be reloaded at the new Murmansk terminal and directed to Europe by railway via St. Petersburg.

With sea-ice on the Northern Sea Route rapidly retreating, there is a growing interest among shipping companies in trans-Arctic shipments. Companies in South Korea have previously expressed intention to launch trial shipments along the Russian Arctic coast.

Choosing the Northern Sea Route from ports in East Asia is about half the distance compared with sailing the Suez channel.

The new terminal is expected to be built on the western shore of the Kola Bay (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

It is the Russian Railway’s information agency that reports about the preferred location of the terminal near Belokamenka. The news is also quoted by Severpost. Last autumn, the Barents Observer reported about negotiations between regional authorities in Murmansk and the Russian Defence Ministry on releasing closed military areas for the purpose of the new container port.

With Rusatom Cargo as partner in the terminal project together with other logistics companies, the progress is expected to gain speed. Rosatom is officially granted the leading role in the development of the vast Russian Arctic coast. With its subsidiary Rosatomflot, the state-owned company is also in charge of the rapidly growing fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers sailing out of Murmansk.

PortNews has previously reported about Rusatom Cargo planning to build its own fleet of Arc7 ice-classed container ships.

As part of the Murmansk Transport Hub project, a railway line is already under construction on the west side of the Kola Bay. The 46-kilometres-long line from the October Railway towards Lavna was originally supposed to serve a new coal terminal, but with the need of such port for export to Europe has no future in times of the green energy shift.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: 2019 saw increase in commercial shipping through Northwest Passage, Radio Canada International

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

Iceland: New guideline launched for Arctic-specific risk assessment in shipping, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Hybrid-powered electric cruise ship navigates Northwest Passage, CBC News

Russia: Russian transport minister says Northern Sea Route a step closer to year-round passage, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: US Arctic : Trump advances icebreaker plan, Alaska Public Media

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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