Freight traffic growing in Russia’s Arctic – official

Maritime cargo shipping along the Northern Sea Route is up 5% compared to last year

Cargo shipments via Russia’s Northern Sea Route in the first half of this year were 5% higher than in the same period of 2021, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday.

In 2021, the cargo flow was 35 million tons, which is 2 million tons more than the planned amount. This year, up to July, we increased traffic by 5%,” Novak said during a meeting with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, adding that international goods transit along Russia’s Arctic coast was three times greater than in 2020.

We can also see that the number of passages through the Northern Sea Route has doubled. This indicates the Northern Sea Route is in high demand,” Novak added.

The deputy premier noted that the Northern Sea Route has benefited from additional nuclear icebreakers, with two added in the past two years, bringing the total to six. He said four more icebreakers would be put into service in the next five years, with plans to build six more.

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Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced that Russia will set up a Main Directorate of the Arctic route to organize the movement of cargo.

A Main Directorate of the Northern Sea Route is being created, on the president’s orders. Its main purpose will be to organize the passage of ships, including issuing and withdrawing permits for this activity,” the premier said.

Mishustin stressed that the government continues to view the northern route as a transport corridor of global importance.

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Most deliveries in the north are carried out through [the Northern Sea Route], including metals and energy supplies to the world market, and cargo transit between Asia and Europe goes through it. It is fully located in the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of Russia, which is especially important amid external sanctions pressure, when supply chains are being disrupted,” Mishustin said.

Russia is extensively developing its Northern Sea Route by modernizing port infrastructure, along with rail and river transport corridors.

According to Novak, the authorities expect cargo flows along Arctic route to reach 80 million tons in 2024, and as much as 200 million tons by 2030. He noted that these plans depend on several construction projects, including Novatek’s LNG plants, oil projects by Rosneft and Gazprom Neft, and the Baimsky mining and processing plant in Chukotka.

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