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North Sea Route Unified plan for developing year-round navigation of the North Sea Route sent to the Russian government

It includes developing infrastructure, building new icebreakers, launching space satellites, improving safety systems and updating meteorological technology.

Gadzhimagomed Huseynov, First Deputy Minister of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, stressed at the EEF field session held in Kamchatka that the work on the synchronisation of the development of the North Sea Route had already begun. This was reported by the press service of the Roscongress Foundation.

The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic has prepared and submitted a consolidated plan to the Government of the Russian Federation, which includes all measures to ensure the year-round operation of the new transport corridor. According to him, the development plan includes commitments both from shippers who guarantee volumes and from the government to build the necessary infrastructure.

'To date, according to the plan, a promising cargo base has been assembled—90 mn tons by 2024 and more than 200 mn tons by 2030. The projects which form this cargo base are expected to attract investment of over RUB 15.6 tn, and created gross value added—RUB 28 tn, and tax revenues up to 2035 should reach over RUB 16 tn,' said Gadzhimagomed Huseynov. 'A separate section of the plan is dedicated to the development of the icebreaker fleet and links the capabilities of the shipyards, the order and future volumes: according to the document, at least eight icebreakers will be built, with two icebreakers already produced, and the third will be ready by the end of this year. In addition, there is the development of safety on the NSR routes, the growth of the satellite constellation, the strengthening of meteorological forecasting and so on.' He also noted that after the EEF, a roadmap with key events and milestones will be prepared by October, as planned.

At the session, representatives of state corporations and businesses spoke about their experience in organising experimental voyages and presented their technological capacities along with the achieved results.

According to Vladimir Panov, Deputy Chairman of the State Commission for Arctic Development and Special Representative of Rosatom State Corporation, the company managed to ensure the transportation of 34.9 mn tons along the North Sea Route in 2021, which is 2 mn tons more than the year before. This year, despite the foreign policy situation, there has been an increase of 5% compared to the same period in the first half of last year. The value of the freight transported amounted to RUB 1.6 tn. Transit cargoes exceeded 2 mn tons. He stressed that all these figures are record-breaking.

Representatives of NOVATEK and Sovcomflot spoke about the fleet's capabilities, which were uncovered as a result of the pilot operation. In particular, the Yamal LNG carriers showed higher ice-crossing capability compared to the specification requirements, while the speed of the new gas carriers being built for the Arctic LNG-2 project was even higher due to improved ice-breaking characteristics. Also, a strategy for effective icebreaker escort has been developed during the pilot voyages. To date, it has been possible to update the rules of the North Sea Route and extend the navigation period from five to eight months. There are also plans to build a floating gas transhipment base in Kamchatka by 2023. This will reduce the duration of the voyage and consequently increase the turnaround rate of the gas carrier fleet. A similar project is planned for the port of Murmansk.

Alexander Bondar, Director of the Department of Educational, Scientific and Technical Activities of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, presented plans for ensuring the safety of the entire North Sea Route. To this end, it is proposed to set up integrated rescue centres, including units of crisis management centres, Arctic search and rescue units and aviation units of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

'To ensure 100% coverage of the North Sea Route, it is necessary to deploy aviation units of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations in seven locations—the planned four centres in Pevek, Sabetta, Tiksi and Dikson, as well as the existing centres in Arkhangelsk, Murmansk and Anadyr, using the arm of the icebreaker fleet. Helicopter pads are now being laid in all new ship projects,' he said.

Representatives of Roshydromet, FSUE Hydrographic Enterprise and Moscow State University also spoke at the event and talked about improving forecasting, developing hydrographic infrastructure and environmental monitoring.

'All of the proposals submitted formed the basis of the SMP development plan until 2035. But it is worth increasing the focus on environmental monitoring issues—I suggest that we pay special attention to these issues during the Eastern Economic Forum,' Gadzhimagomed Huseynov, First Deputy Minister of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, summarised the event.

As a reminder, the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) retreat held in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky discussed the intensification of cargo traffic along the North Sea Route, as well as the equal distribution of load on the transport corridor. The session was organised by the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, the Far East Development Corporation (FEDC), Rosatom State Corporation, Kamchatka Territory and the Roscongress Foundation.

The 7th Eastern Economic Forum will be held on 5–8 September 2022 in Vladivostok on the campus of Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU). It is organised by the Roscongress Foundation. Media registration for EEF 2022 is open on the official website.

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