The lack of sufficient and qualified infrastructure, including ice-class fleet of carriers and support ice-breakers, is hindering the development of the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic stated the head of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, Alexei Chekunkov, in an interview with RBC Russian media on the eve of this years Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia. He further stated that there are not enough shipyards in the world to build the needed fleet.
In 2022, 34 million tons of cargo were delivered via the NSR, and the same number is planned to be delivered in 2023, Chekunkov stated. According to Russia's plans cargo traffic on this route should be more than doubled by the end of 2024, to 80 million tons, and by 2031 it should be 200 million tons.
However, for such an increase in cargo traffic there is not yet enough ice-class fleet available, not only in Russia, but also in the world as a whole. “Perhaps my greatest concern is precisely the lack of a sufficient ice-class fleet to transport 200 million tons in seven to eight years. And the production cycle of a large ice-class tanker is not months, but years,” the minister said.
According to him, the problem is mainly in the lack of production capacity. He noted: “Are there shipyards in such a number, are there specialists in such a number - this is probably just the topic where it is interesting to talk with our largest partners on the subject of cooperation.” Negotiations are underway on this, in particular with India, whose representatives will participate in the WEF this year, and China, says Chekunkov. “India is interested in working together to develop northern navigation and potentially in joint shipbuilding. This is a fairly large ocean power. Of course, China, he argues. “Somewhere together we will be able to produce an ice-class fleet in sufficient quantities.”
In 2022, the government of Russia approved a program that includes the construction of 50 icebreakers and ice-class vessels to operate on the NSR until 2035. This program also provides for the construction of a number of infrastructure facilities - terminals for transshipment of coal, oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG), ports, emergency rescue centers, as well as the formation of an orbital group of satellites. About 1.8 trillion rubles will be allocated for the implementation of the project, of which 620 billion rubles are from the federal budget.
At the end of 2022, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev and representatives of the SMP operator Rosatom warned about the risk of a shortage of icebreakers. According to Medvedev, half of the current group of six vessels of the icebreaker fleet under the control of Rosatom was built using outdated technologies. Their service life has been repeatedly extended, and by 2026-2027 they will already have exhausted their resources. “If they are not replaced in the near future with new ships of modern designs, and such projects exist and being implemented, then by 2030 there is a risk of facing a shortage of icebreaking capacities,” he said.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin spoke at a meeting in June 2023 about the need to prepare further steps for the development of the Northern Sea Route, including the development of measures for the construction of ice and non-ice class ships. “The well-being of the inhabitants of the Arctic zone, the Far East and the development of our economy as a whole depend on the solution of these issues,” he stressed.
The tags below provide an opportunity to view previously posted related news within the selected category