Russia continues to develop shipping through the Arctic
promoting it as a faster route that is an alternative to the Suez Canal. In the
latest development, ROSATOM, the Russian nuclear energy company that is the
infrastructure operator of the Northern Sea Route announced a cooperation
agreement with DP World for a pilot container shipping project using the NSR.
The two companies will work together to develop and test the infrastructure to
support cargo to be transported through the Arctic between Northern Europe and
“DP World supports Russia’s efforts to diversify trade flows
between Asia and Europe,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO
of DP World. “DP World has already committed to invest $2 billion with the
Russian Direct Investment Fund, and we will continue to work with our partners
in Russia to find solutions that allow the Northern Transit Corridor to develop
According to ROSATOM, the Northern Maritime Transport
Corridor (NMTC) is being created in stages on the basis of the Northern Sea
Route under the NSR Infrastructure Development Plan 2035 approved by the
Government of the Russian Federation. ROSATOM said that it will develop a new
logistics business to support the next stage of development of the route.
“Building sustainable transport infrastructure in the Arctic
opens up new opportunities in developing the Eurasian transit, which can be
carried out in the optimal time frame and help reduce the environmental
footprint through shorter routes and the advanced low-carbon energy solutions
applied,” said Alexey Likhachev, Director General of ROSATOM.
Environmentalists have been critical of Russia’s efforts to
build Arctic shipping and promoting the environmentally sensitive region to
commercial shipping. Today’s announcement was made during an event in St.
Petersburg billed as Arctic Day to “bring together stakeholders to talk about
the best ways to develop the Arctic sustainably.”
Russian authorities also used the opportunity to highlight
the growth in shipping in the region in 2021. They reported that since the
beginning of the year, cargo traffic on the NSR rose more than 2.5 percent to
over 17 million tons. So far in 2021, they have issued permits to 640 vessels
up from just over 500 a year ago to operate on the North Sea Route. Most of the
traffic on the route is related to exports of LNG and gas condensate from the
NOVATEK’s terminal in Sabetta, but the authorities noted that 87 foreign
flagged ships received permits for the route in 2021.