Russia announces major development plan for seaports on Northern Sea Route

A map showing the area of the Northern Sea Route above Russia. (iStock)

A terminal for shipment of zinc and lead is to be built in the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya and the Seaport of Arkhangelsk will get its capacity tripled, Russia’s federal government decides.

“The Government continues to systematically develop the Northern Sea Route,” Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin underlined as he this week presented a new infrastructure plan for the north Russian region of Arkhangelsk.

According to the document, the local seaport will get its capacity tripled by year 2035. While it handled 6,5 million tons of goods in 2022, it will be able to handle 25 million tons in 2040, the Russian government informs.

Major dredging operations are foreseen in the Northern Dvina river and railway connections to the seaport are to be improved. The construction of the new terminal will be started no later than 2026 and it is to be completed in 2031.

The Northern Dvina river in Northern Russia flows through the regions of Vologda Oblast and Arkhangelsk.(Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters)

Key commodity for the new port in Arkhangelsk will be zinc and lead concentrates, the government document explains.

The plan also includes the construction of a terminal in Novaya Zemlya, which is to be ready for operations in 2026. The construction of the new infrastructure will be covered by non-budgetary funds, the document reads.

The terminal in the far northern and heavily militarised archipelago has been under planning for several years. It is due to be built in the Bezimyannaya Bay, not far from the local nuclear weapon test sites.

It will handle ores and concentrate from the Pavlovskoye mine. Behind the project stands state nuclear power company Rosatom and its subsidiary First Ore Mining Company.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev in Moscow, on August 14, 2023. (Alexander Kazakov/Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters)

The Russian government’s approval of the infrastructure plan comes only few months after Andrei Patrushev acquired an ownership stake in the Seaport of Arkhangelsk.

In early 2023, Patrushev bought a 10 percent stake in the seaport. With the acquisition, Patrushev teamed up with port owners TD Bulat-SBS, Investment Industrial Partner and Vaiz Invest. The latter reportedly controls 60 percent of the port.

Andrei Patrushev is the youngest son of Nikolai Patrushev, the Russian Security Council Secretary. The Patrushev family is closely associated with the FSB.

From before, Andrei Patrushev is a major owner of Gazprom Shelf Project, a company that has a management responsibility for several of Russia’s best Arctic drilling rigs and vessels. He also controls a major share of Arctic exploration company Marine Arctic Geo Exploration Expedition (MAGE)

From before, Arkhangelsk has one of Russia’s biggest Arctic seaports. It is extensively used for shipments of goods and construction materials to far northern industrial projects like the Syradasayskoye coal field and Rosneft’s Vostok Oil.

As the new federal plan was approved in Moscow, a Chinese cargo ship loaded forestry products in the terminal. According to regional Governor Aleksandr Tsybulsky, Chinese furniture manufacturers are ready to start shipping up to one million cubic meters of wood products one the Northern Sea Route. The first shipload includes 300 containers sent by Chinese ship Xin Xin Hai 1.

Related stories from around the North :

Canada : 44 per cent increase in unique ships entering Canada’s Northwest Passage, says report, Eye on the Arctic

Russia : Russia passes law limiting freedom of Northern Sea Route navigation, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden : Wind-farms in the Baltic may block important winter sea route for Sweden, Radio Sweden

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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