March 2021 was marked by a slight decrease in the number of voyages compared to March 2020 (165 against 170). An interesting fact is that the number of vessels operating in the water area of the NSR continues to grow (see the graph on the map). When we review the activities this month over the last two years, we can see that the main large projects, such as Yamal LNG, Arctic Gates terminal, arrivals to and departures from Dudinka in the framework of Norilsk Nickel company activities, development of the Salmanovskoe field, as well as other cargoes for Sabetta, remain the main drivers of navigation on the NSR in this difficult month in terms of weather and ice conditions.
After studying the data placed on the web-page of the NSR Administration about ice conditions over the past 4 years, we come to the conclusion that March 2021 met ships on the NSR with difficult ice conditions, if we compare the same period in 2018, 2019 and 2020. In the past three years, mainly in the entire western part of the Kara Sea, light ice conditions prevailed, which often turn into medium type of conditions by the end of the month. In the eastern part, the medium type is stable in March. In 2021, the picture is very different: the entire Kara Sea is covered with ice belonging to the medium type of ice conditions, and at the end of the month heavy ice conditions come to the Enisey Bay.
Information about ice conditions in the Kara Sea formed on the basis of forecasts placed on the NSR Administration web-page.