The Northern Sea Route (NSR) can become an alternative for a part of the cargo going to and from the East, according to the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.
The NSR via the Arctic Sea, and which runs along Russia’s northern coastline, is the shortest shipping route between East Asian and Western European ports. Russia’s Far East and Arctic regions have a great export potential due to the proximity of such countries as China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar, among others.
Rosatom operates nuclear powered icebreakers that help keep the NSR open for navigation. The company is constructing icebreakers under its “Project 22220” programme, 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.
“The Northern Sea Route can become an alternative for a part of the cargo going to and from the East. We are ready to quickly arrange the key components for the year-round operation of this route: the operation of ports and icebreaking support, the cargo fleet,” Rosatom’s Special Representative for the Development of the Arctic, Vladimir Panov, said at a roundtable held late last month in Mumbai where the participants included a business delegation from Russia and representatives of Indian industry.
This roundtable session, titled “Russian Far East and the Arctic – study of new prospects and opportunities for bilateral cooperation”, was organised in Mumbai with the support of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) whose members representing the Indian logistics, energy and fuel industries participated in the session.
The session in Mumbai was part of the programme of meetings of the visiting Russian business delegation with the Indian business community held in New Delhi and Mumbai. The key items of the Indo-Russian meeting agenda included the development of friendly relations, as well as trade, economic, and investment cooperation.
A Rosatom statement said the Russian delegation included representatives from the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic, Rosatom, the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, and the Russian state development corporation VEB.RF.
“The parties discussed the prospects for the development of transport connections and logistics between the two countries, including the routes of the Northern Sea Route, the Arctic and Far Eastern railway and port infrastructure,” the statement said.
A meeting was also held with the Indian Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, in which representatives of Indian transport and logistics companies also took part, the statement added.
In his address to the session participants, Panov said that with the major changes occurring last year in the trajectory of the Northern Sea Route development, cargo flows will now be redirected to Asia.
The Rosatom Special Representative for the Development of the Arctic also updated the Indian participants about the status of development of the infrastructure to ensure year-round navigation along the NSR and presented information about the icebreaking support for voyages, safety aspects and the environmental safety of shipping.
At the first meeting of the Council of the NSR Shipping Participants held in Vladivostok (Russia) last year, Panov had said that Russia is working on mission mode to make year-round navigation a reality along the entire stretch of the NSR by December 2024. Arctic shipping has been steadily developing over the past 5 years, which has already made possible year-round navigation in the NSR’s western sector.