How cargo flows will be managed along the Northern Sea Route KXan 36 Daily News

Within the next year, a unified system for coordinating transport flows along the Northern Sea Route will be created in Russia. The relevant ministry will retain regulatory functions, while dispatching and fleet management will remain with the structures of Rosatom, said Alexei Chekunkov, head of the Ministry for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, following a recent meeting in the Russian government on the development of the Arctic territories.

The minister called the Northern Sea Route a “generation project”. According to him, over the past five years, the volume of cargo traffic along the NSR has increased almost five times. At the current growth rate, by 2024, 80 million tons of cargo per year will have to be transported along the northernmost transport artery of the country. By 2030, we will have to reach the “bar” of 150, and according to some scenarios – 200 million tons. About 80 percent of the cargo will be oil, gas, high-quality coal, northern delivery cargo, and in the future – expensive transit cargo.

For this, a set of tasks will have to be solved, including the key issue – the synchronization of the work of those enterprises and investment projects that form the cargo base of the NSR, and to expand its capacity. In addition, transport and logistics support bases for transportation in intermediate ports – Murmansk, Tiksi, Pevek and other smaller ones – should be created along the entire Northern Sea Route.

– In addition, the development of the Northern Sea Route is difficult to imagine without the development of railway approaches, – said Alexei Fadeev, Executive Director of the Association of Polar Explorers of the Murmansk Region. – For this, the Northern Latitudinal Railway project should be implemented in parallel with the NSR. The transport system in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation must be developed comprehensively, since without this it is impossible to ensure the connectivity of Russian territories. The population of Russia is two percent of the total number of people living on the planet, and at the same time Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of area.

Another fundamental task is to create an efficient fleet. The technology for transporting liquefied natural gas in LNG carriers is comparable in complexity to space exploration. The transportation of oil through the Arctic seas has a similar complexity. The construction of such vessels also needs to be coordinated with the development of production facilities and the transport infrastructure of the NSR. Now it is planned to build 55 high ice-class transport vessels, including 10 for transportation within Russia, which will also operate on a regular container line. Also, by 2030, it was decided to build six more icebreakers in addition to those project 22220 nuclear-powered ships that are already under construction.

In addition, the development of the Arctic implies not only the development of offshore deposits, but also deposits of raw materials on land. Mined resources need to be brought to ports, loaded onto ships and delivered to consumers, and this will also require a separate coastal fleet. Today, cabotage between the Arctic regions is in its infancy.

– Only Russia today carries oil through the Arctic Ocean. Nobody in the world can do this, not even Norway, – adds Alexey Fadeev. – With the increase in cargo traffic along the NSR that we are talking about, we must be prepared for potential emergencies.

As noted in the Ministry for the Development of the Far East, today only eight ships of the rescue fleet are on duty in the NSR, and sixteen more will be built by 2024. A total of 54 ships are needed. In addition, 13 rescue helicopters and a large EMERCOM center in Pevek are already under construction; similar centers are expected to be built in Sabetta, Dixon and Tiksi.

By 2024, 80 million tons of cargo per year will be transported along the NSR

Another set of issues to be addressed in the coordination of transportation along the Northern Sea Route is the northern delivery, without which it is impossible to develop Arctic investment projects. The NSR is not only a commercial route, but also a “way of life” for almost three million people working in Arctic ports, fields, factories and social infrastructure facilities. Today, there is no centralized management of the northern delivery, this work is forced to deal with the administrations of the Arctic regions and even some municipalities separately. There is no doubt that such work is not within the power of local authorities, since this is a task of a federal scale. So far, there is not even a clear definition of what northern delivery is and what regions it belongs to, Mikhail Grigoriev, a member of the scientific council under the Security Council of the Russian Federation, emphasized.

Cargo escort across the Arctic seas should become predictable, guaranteed and cost-effective for shippers. First of all, the services of the transport “bridge”, which is the Northern Sea Route, should be inexpensive for its users. Shifting the payment of icebreaking assistance tariffs to shippers means making transportation unprofitable. These tariffs are yet to be developed and implemented.

Direct speech

Alexey Chekunkov, Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic:

– In order to increase the efficiency of the northern delivery, we carried out a detailed diagnosis of the logistics schemes for organizing the procurement and delivery of goods. We see a large space for reducing the cost and increasing the speed of delivery. A draft federal law is being prepared that defines the status of a participant in the northern delivery. We will plan the purchase of goods through a digital platform.


Source: Российская Газета by rg.ru.

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