• 2017 March 15

    Yury Sychev, Executive Secretary, Scientific Expert Panel, State Commission for Arctic Development

    On Arctic transport infrastructure

    - The significance of transport system in the Arctic is evident. Internationally, Arctic transport system is interesting, first of all, as a transit route. The past year was the warmest on record. The ice coverage was exclusively low. Since the process of warming and reduction of ice coverage in the Arctic has been seen on the Earth over the last 20 years, we can speak about future intensification of using the Northern Sea Route, particularly, as a route from Europe, first of all, Northern Europe, to the South-East Asia. The sipping time is reduced by about 10 days. …Major shipping companies are keeping a close eye on the process to get involved in time and to create a certain alternative to the Suez Canal. Of course, it will not be possible to compete with the Suez Canal on a full scale but several tens of millions of tons are realistic with the reduced shipping costs. 

    The transport system which is under development is supposed to include at least one hub – Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. When speaking about the route from the South-East Asia to the Northern Europe, it will be like this: cargoes will be delivered to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky by conventional vessels, where they will be accumulated, especially containers, and then loaded on ice class ships operation of which is more expensive to be chartered beyond the Arctic region. Those cargoes will be rather quickly delivered across the Arctic zone to the point of destination.

    The bulk of transit cargo are containers and liquefied gas with possible transportation of petrochemicals. The share of dry bulk cargo is minor. Besides, it is reasonable to transport fish and everything for which transportation time is crucial. I am sure, the participants of the international forum ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ will have something to tell about the applicability of transit in the Russian Arctic. The discussion is also expected to involve shipbuilders: in Europe, Arctic class ships are built mainly in Finland, in the South-East Asia – in Korea, Singapore and China. They build vessels of ice classes Arc-5 – Arc-7. 

    Another part of transportation in the Arctic zone is domestic cargo shipping, which is a complex of transportation systems – seaborne, air and railway. The rail component foresees the introduction of the new routes – the Northern Latitudinal Railway, Belkomur, etc. Belkomur will be able to carry 150 mln t of Perm fertilizers intended for foreign markets. 

    The development of Arctic transport infrastructure will be facilitated with the transportation of resources produced in the Arctic itself. Loss of Arctic sea ice provides new opportunities – mineral resources can be developed on the Arctic shelf. This will require thorough prearrangement work and high investments. Vessels of new technological level are required as well as new port able to ensure such activities. 

    Yamal LNG will start operation in the nearest time and will provide additional 16 mln t of cargo to the Northern Sea Route. Further on, Novoportovskoye field will add 8 mln t, as well as other Pechora, Yamal LNG-2, etc. Much hydrocarbons will be carried via the Northern Sea Route. This will ensure the required cargo flow.

    Our domestic transportation will develop as well since it is the interest of the regions, country economy as a whole and the interest of our military sector. 

    All this is a background for the development of Russia’s Arctic zone. It is our strategic task which is to be fulfilled in the coming years. 

    This and other issues will be discussed at the Arctic: Territory of DialogueForum >>>>

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