О Камчатке Сервисы Проекты Площадки Стандарт О корпорации Инвесткарта Журнал Медиа Мероприятия ГЧП En
Expert The Way Forward

The Northern Sea Route (NSR) is the shortest route between the Atlantic and Pacific. With the rapid growth of Asian markets and the complicated geopolitical situation, NSR becomes a necessity. The key challenge to increasing the cargo traffic is to enable year-round navigation across the Northern Sea Route.

Pilot Voyages

The Northern Sea Route is gradually transformed into a global transport artery. In the first half of 2022 18 mln. tons of cargo was carried over the NSR. It is 5% more than in the first half of 2021.

The Northern Sea Route is becoming a regular route, not an experiment. “A year-round navigation across the Northern Sea Route should begin in 2024. I am confident it will”, noted Vladimir Solodov, the Governor of Kamchatka, speaking at a field session of the Eastern Economic Forum. “We have the cargo infrastructure, land transport, and support from the emergency services just in case”.

For more than a decade, major Russian companies have operated “pilot” voyages, more and more year to year. Vladimir Panov, special representative, Rosatom Corp., Deputy Chairperson, National Arctic Development Board, said at the field session of the Eastern Economic Forum 2021 that the corporation had carried 34.9 mln. tons of cargo across BSR, 2 mln. tons more than in 2020. The cargo was RUB 1.6 bln. worth, a 300% growth since 2019.

Energy of Kamchatka

The electric power industry is ready to support year-round Northern Sea Route operations. For example, Kamchatka, the natural point of entry and exit to the NSR, has a significant power infrastructure. Kamchatka is the home of several largest Russian Far East energy projects. For instance, NOVATEK is building a liquefied natural gas transshipment infrastructure.

"A floating gas storage facility is being built now. We will deliver it to Kamchatka in the first half of 2023. starting from 2024, the NOVATEK infrastructure in the Kamchatka Territory will support year-round NSR navigation", said Evgeny Ambrosov, Deputy Chairperson of the Management Board, during the field session. “As early as next year we will start natural gas ship-to-ship transshipment in Bechevinskaya Bay. We are going to increase the port’s cargo turnover to 20-22 mln. tons: about 40 ships will call there every month. This is rather intensive traffic".

“We have been through global changes, Ten years ago no one could have imagined that Kamchatka would become one of the largest liquefied natural gas hubs”, noted Sergei Frank, Chairperson of Sovcomflot Board of Directors and Chairperson of the Northern Sea Route Navigator Board. “No one would have believed it, but now the work is in progress and will be completed against all odds”, he said at the field session.

Earth Remote Sensing Protects the Atmosphere

“Launching a year-round, regular NSR navigation by 2024 requires joint efforts of every stakeholder, a unified supply chain, and offering a competitive product to the shippers.

The experts are now discussing safety options for NSR navigation. For example, it is proposed to establish rescue stations at the existing EMERCOM air bases and crisis management centers”, said Alexander Bondar, Director, Department of R&D and Education, EMERCOM.

"They will be placed in seven locations: Anadyr, Pevek, Tiksi, Diсkson, Sabetta, Arkhangelsk, and Murmansk. Using the Rosatom’s nuclear icebreaker fleet with their onboard helipads we will be able to provide 100% coverage of the Northern Sea Route. We can quickly send in more personnel as required or provide medical evacuation from the vessel," he added.

Dmitry Zaitsev, Deputy Head of the Russian Weather Service, said that by 2024 the online weather forecast accuracy for the NSR region will be increased to 90%.

"Early last year, the Arctica-M No. 1 hydrometeorological satellite was launched. Roscosmos is going to launch one more satellite of this type plus three others by 2023. With this, the shipping companies and Northern Sea Route users will have all the necessary information", he noted.

Navigating the Milestones

Safe, year-round navigation across the NSR is a real challenge. The work is already underway.

The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East has developed a comprehensive plan to launch year-round navigation and upgrade the Northern Sea Route till 2035. The plan lists the government's obligations to create infrastructure and the shippers' obligations to provide the specified traffic. It also includes the construction of new icebreakers, better transport, and environmental safety. The expected results are also indicated.

"By 2024, the NSR cargo traffic should reach 90 mln. tons, and by 2030, over 200 mln. tons. Investments in the projects generating this cargo traffic will exceed RUB 15.6 bln, and their gross added value will be RUB 28 bln. while the tax deductions will be RUB 16 bln. until 2035”, said Hajimagomed Guseinov, First Deputy Minister, Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East. “The plan envisages the construction of eight icebreakers, the modernization or construction of 12 seaports, railway links to the ports, launching a satellite constellation, and building other facilities".

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