A record 36.25 million tonnes of cargo shipped along Northern Sea Route in 2023

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A total of 36.254 million tonnes of cargo was shipped along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in 2023, according to the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom. 

A Rosatom statement said the cargo shipped was more than 250 thousand tonnes above the annual target set in the “Development of the Northern Sea Route” federal project being implemented under Rosatom’s supervision. 

The NSR, via the Arctic Ocean and running along Russia’s northern coastline, is the shortest sea route between the Asia-Pacific region and northern Europe. 

Rosatom operates nuclear powered icebreakers that help keep the NSR open for navigation. The company is constructing icebreakers which will help keep the Northern Sea Route open for year-round shipping. In addition, Rosatom is equipping the NSR facilities, building port infrastructure, and developing transit.       

According to Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev, the cargo shipping record was accomplished even before the end of the year thanks to partner companies that had redirected their cargo from west to east, including Novatek, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil and Nornickel. 

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) accounts for more than half of the cargo on the NSR, Rosatom said.  

“Transit cargo shipping evidences the NSR popularity, and therefore its intensification from the maritime logistics point of view is the most important result,” Rosatom Special Representative for Arctic development, Vladimir Panov, said in a statement.  

Foreign shipping companies are showing increasing interest in the Northern Sea Route. In 2023, the Maritime Operations Headquarters of Rosatom organised escort and support for regular service voyages of container shipping between China and Russia along the NSR. 

“In total, they issued 1,218 permits for navigation (for comparison, 1,163 permits were issued in 2022) in the waters of the Northern Sea Route, including 115 permits for foreign companies in 2023 (in 2022, there were 55 permits for foreign companies),” the statement said.  

Besides, there were 80 transit voyages along the NSR in 2023 (in 2022, there were 47 transit voyages). In addition, there were 3 round domestic voyages along the NSR from the northwestern part of Russia to the regions of the Far East in 2023, the statement added.