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17 May, 2023 15:56

Freight traffic booming in Russian Arctic – official

Maritime cargo shipping along the Northern Sea Route has exceeded Soviet-era highs, according to a government minister
Freight traffic booming in Russian Arctic – official

Cargo shipments via Russia’s Northern Sea Route (NSR) are growing steadily and surpassed 30 million tons last year, according to the minister for the development of the Far East and Arctic.

Aleksey Chekunkov reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that freight traffic along the Arctic route had shot up from 4 million tons in 2014 to 34 million tons in 2022, which is “five times higher than the record of the Soviet era.” 

“While a number of unfriendly states are trying to revise their previously announced plans for transit along the NSR, we are seeing a growing interest in using the route from China, India, and the states of Southeast Asia,” Chekunkov said.

According to Putin, who was holding the meeting with members of the government via video link, development of the NSR is a strategic priority for Russia, and could attract participation from foreign partners.

Putin added that he had no doubt that Russia will implement all of its ambitious infrastructure projects, similar to the launch of year-round ship traffic along the NSR.

The route stretches the entire length of Russia’s Arctic and Far East regions, and is expected to become a major trade passage for goods shipped between Europe and Asia. It could drastically reduce transportation times compared to traditional pathways through the Suez or Panama canals. In the Soviet era, it was used mainly to supply goods to isolated settlements in the Arctic.

Russia has extensively developed the NSR by modernizing port infrastructure, along with rail and river transport corridors.

The authorities expect cargo flows along the Arctic route to reach 80 million tons in 2024, and as much as 200 million tons by 2030.

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