Cargo Shipments Increase on Northern Sea Route

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Published Nov 16, 2019 2:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

So far this year, over 26 million tons of cargo has been transported on the Northern Sea Route, up from 15.9 million tons last year.

According to the Directorate of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) of Rosatom, the main increase in cargo flow resulted from the Yamal LNG project. There was also an increase in the amount of oil shipped from the Yamal Peninsula oil terminal at Novoportovskoye. 

In 2016, the volume of cargo transportation via the NSR reached 7.5 million tons.

Rosatom is responsible for commercial functions associated with meeting Russia's goal to increase NSR cargo flow to 80 million tons by 2024. The organization believes that this figure could reach 92.6 million tons by that time, including 41 million tons of LNG from the Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2 projects. 

Additionally, plans are underway to ship Russian coking coal to India via the Northern Sea Route after a series of meetings in Vladivostok last month.

In September, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev, said: “Within the framework of the federal project “Northern Sea Route” the appropriate set of measures has been taken to achieve the annual target cargo flow of 80 million tons by 2024. We have no doubt that we will cope with this task and create infrastructure that will include the Arctic icebreaker fleet, satellite communications, emergency means of rescue, port fleet and digital shipping services.” 

So far, NSR transit shipments remain low. According to the Independent Barents Observer, 205,000 tons were shipped, much of this by COSCO. In contrast, MSC, Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM have stated they will not use the route for environmental reasons. Last year, Maersk tested the route for a delivery voyage and said that it did not plan to follow with regular cargoes.