- The climate warming and the ice clearance of vast water areas, the development of the fleet of icebreakers and the development of natural resources projects in view of their seaborne transportation are among the stimuli for the development of Arctic shipping. The most intense development is shown by the northern sea transport corridor stretching from the Barents to the Bering Sea with the Northern Sea Route as its central segment.
The northern sea transport corridor comprises not only the water areas of the Arctic seas but also the navigable waterways of Russia flowing into them. It is used not only for the part of “northern deliveries” but also for major commercial tasks of the Arctic shipping, in particular, for shipping of oil & gas and mining industry products to the global and domestic markets, financing of the current oil & gas and mining industry facilities; development of fields and construction of production facilities; operation at licensed territories on the shelf and on the shore; international commerce: domestic and international transit — without crossing the Russian Federation or via the ports of import/export in the Russian Federation.
The Northern Sea Route is showing an evolutionary development. The first phase: implementation of its historical role as a national transport route of Russia — ensuring the activities of settlements (“northern delivery”) and shipment of products (Varandei, Norilsk, Pevek, etc.), ensuring implementation of the large scale investment projects, ensuring national security and sovereignty of the country. The second phase: development of transport infrastructure to ensure shipment of the products of Arctic oil & gas complex to the markets of the Asia-Pacific Region. This will require the development of icebreaker and support fleet, port infrastructure, emergency rescue teams, navigation and hydrographic facilities and many other tasks.
Solution of the second phase tasks will reduce the risks of Arctic shipping and the cost of passage. It will also ensure the transition to the third phase of development — creation of an international transport corridor for both shipping of raw materials produced in Russian Arctic to the global markets and for servicing of the growing transit flow — between the western and eastern regions of Russia and between the markets of the Atlantic and Pacific ocean.
From the interview to the ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ digest, January 2017.
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