News review of the events on the NSR
#1 April 2021

1. Russia plans regular container transportation along NSR

Russia plans to launch regular container shipping along the Northern Sea Route. This was stated by the Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic Alexey Chekunkov at a meeting in the government.

Over the past 6 years, the traffic volume on the NSR has grown eightfold. Russia is building icebreakers capable of navigating caravans with container ships. Because of the global warming, the navigation season is getting longer and longer.

The Northern Sea Route allows to deliver containers from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg in an average of 27 days. This is one and a half times faster than transportation along the traditional sea route through the Suez Canal. Nevertheless, the “Suez Option” is still a third cheaper.

Yurii Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation: “We must make sure that the transportation of cargo along the Northern Sea Route is not more expensive – but better to make it cheaper than along the Suez. If this requires a separate state program, support, then this must be done. Launching a huge project, we cannot generate profit immediately, we will have to invest for some time, this is the general situation for any investment project. Therefore, in the initial period, we just need to promote this project”.

Trutnev also suggested to Rosatom, which manages the icebreaker fleet, to make a schedule for the formation of convoys of ships on the Northern Sea Route. Shippers must clearly know by what date they need to bring containers to the starting point of the route. This will speed up overall delivery times and reduce costs.

Over the past year, another record in terms of the traffic volume was established on the NSR: 33 million tons against the plan of 29 million. In May Decrees, Vladimir Putin ordered to bring this cargo traffic to 80 million tons per year by 2024.


2. Rosatom builds port-hub for NSR near Murmansk

Rusatom Cargo (the logistics operator of Rosatom state corporation) will build a port-hub in the Murmansk region – a terminal for transshipment of container cargo going from European countries to specialized ice-reinforced vessels operating on the Northern Sea Route. On March 30, the government of the Murmansk region announced support for the project, while the head of the region, Andrey Chibis, emphasized the relevance of the project in connection with the “traffic jam” in the Suez Canal.

“The resonant story with the blocking of the Suez Canal once again confirmed the need to develop the Northern Sea Route. This is important for our region and global logistics in general,” Andrey Chibis wrote in social medias following talks with Rusatom Cargo CEO Alexander Neklyudov in Murmansk.

According to Chibis, the implementation of the project will open up new opportunities for international transportation. “Compared to the Suez Canal, the delivery time of the cargo will be reduced by a third,” the Murmansk governor said.

The project of Rusatom Cargo is designed to attract international transit traffic to the Northern Sea Transport Corridor – it is wider than the Northern Sea Route. If the NSR includes the territory strictly from the Kara Gate in the West to Cape Dezhnev in the Bering Strait in the East, then the Northern Sea Transport Corridor runs from Murmansk to Kamchatka.

In order to implement the project, it is planned to build 2 transport and logistics hubs – in the Far East and in the Murmansk region, where a site for the port hub was chosen on the western coast of the Kola Bay near Belokamenka town. Under the project, cargo will be delivered by a feeder fleet of vessels from the ports of Asia and Europe to the eastern or western terminals, where they will be reloaded onto ice-reinforced ships and back. Rusatom Cargo intends to build its own Arctic container fleet supported by nuclear icebreakers.

The pilot operation of the project is planned to begin in 2024 with a traffic volume of 8-10 million tons per year. The project cost is estimated at 41.97 billion rubles, the annual operating costs – at 3.62 billion rubles.


3. Rosatom: design of 16 SAR vessels for NSR starts in 2021

The construction of 16 rescue vessels of different types for the Northern Sea Route will begin in 2021, said Vladimir Panov, special representative of Rosatom State Corporation, Deputy Chairman of the State Commission for Arctic Development, at the forum “Arctic Ports” in Arkhangelsk.

“In 2021, the Ministry of Transport and the Marine Rescue Service will begin construction of 16 new rescue vessels of different types, that will start to serve in 2023-2025,” Panov said in his speech.

According to Mr. Panov, the vessels will be distributed along the entire Northern Sea Route so as to ensure the safety of navigation along its entire length. “A safety net will be created both in the western direction of the Northern Sea Route and in the eastern one,” he added.

At the end of 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District Yurii Trutnev instructed the Ministry of Transport and Rosmorrechflot to develop a plan for the construction of rescue fleet for the Northern Sea Route. The provision of the Northern Sea Route with rescue vessels is a prerequisite for guaranteeing the safe navigation. At the expense of the federal budget in 2020-2024 the construction of a rescue fleet in the amount of 16 units is envisaged for 38.7 billion rubles.

Rosmorrechflot planned to enter contracts for the construction of 16 SAR vessels in May and October 2020. However, the contracts were not concluded, and the allocated funds were returned to the budget.


4. Shipments by “Sevmorput” to Kamchatka becomes regular

The revival of cargo transportation along the NSR will give a strong impetus to the development of the region’s economy, said Governor of Kamchatka Vladimir Solodov, talking about the results of the meeting on the development of the Arctic, which was chaired by the Plenipotentiary of the President in the Far Eastern Federal District Yurii Trutnev. In particular, a decision was made on 4 scheduled voyages of the nuclear container ship “Sevmorput” in 2021.

Cargoes from Kamchatka fishermen will be formed to the central regions of Russia, and back the nuclear carrier will deliver two hundred containers with food and other important goods for the people of Kamchatka. In this case, the cost of placing one kilogram of cargo will be 15 rubles, and the delivery time is about 3 weeks. Such a tariff will significantly reduce the price of imported food and other goods on the shelves of Kamchatka stores and diversify the assortment.

In addition, the implementation of regular voyages of “Sevmorput” will allow to make additional jobs for Kamchatka residents for the onshore service.

Last year, in September, Sevmorput made a voyage to St. Petersburg and delivered 206 refrigerated containers with fish products.



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