On June 15, 2023, Alexei Likhachev, Director General of Rosatom, took part in the “Northern Sea Route: New Challenges” session held as part of SPIEF-2023.
The session highlighted the new significance of the Northern Sea Route as the most important transport route connecting the vast Arctic territories of Russia, as well as the North-West and the Far East of the country. Last year, the Northern Sea Route opened a new window of opportunity for the development of Russian territories and for strengthening of partner relationships with friendly countries.
“The objective of the global logistics has always been a balance of safety, sustainability and efficiency. However certain events of recent years changed world logistics. Given such a situation, safety and sustainability are becoming the obvious priorities. The NSR is becoming a unique new route, and we see, especially considering the current situation, a great potential for cooperation with friendly countries in the area of transit traffic, and moreover we are already taking the relevant actions,” said Alexei Likhachev.
It was noted that the NSR has got a development impetus due to mining, infrastructure, and logistics projects. In the last decade, the fundamental changes took place thanks to the projects of Norilsk Nickel, Novatek, Gazprom Neft, that built a high Arctic class fleet making the Northern Sea Route efficient and safe. The vessels can navigate without an icebreaker assistance in certain ice conditions which allows for year-round navigation in the western part of the NSR.
“Last year, in accordance with the instruction of the President of the Russian Federation, in addition to icebreaking logistics, Rosatom was put in charge of the NSR traffic management. Glavsevmorput is responsible for the coordination of the entire voyage: permit issuance, compliance oversight, route mapping for all ships operating along the NSR,” said Alexei Likhachev.
The participants of the discussion agreed that the Arctic projects contribute significantly to the development of the Russian economy. Novatek, Rosneft, Gazpromneft, Norilsk Nickel do a considerable part of the NSR development work building a fleet, and participatin in the creation of communication systems. “This task has great potential. This logistics corridor should be used as a means for connecting territories. This is an inspiring challenge. We understand that we can seriously improve both the investment environment and the life quality,” the head of Rosatom emphasized.
The participants also discussed the tasks of creating a global logistics corridor, of delivering tens of millions of tons of transit cargo by a shorter and more efficient route. The main characteristics of the process include the following: Arctic business is not easy, the state takes on some of the risks, continues infrastructure investment even in a difficult from the budget point of view situation.
Another issue of the discussion was the search for a new model of traffic with year-round navigation in the eastern sector of the NSR. Next year we will be able to tell you about the results.
Aleksey Likhachev spoke about the importance of a reliable energy supply: “The world's first floating nuclear power plant has been operating in Pevek for several years. The Baimskaya zone in Chukotka has already requested 4 small NPPs. We expect orders for about 15 more power units. We have hit the mark. The floating solution is in great demand considering the present conditions of the Arctic.”
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chief Executive Officer, DP World, also noted: “The Northern Sea Route development project has great potential, and it is important to determine what exactly needs to be done for its successful implementation. The main measures to be taken include securing customer support for the project, infrastructure development and informing customers about environmental studies. I am sure that thanks to the participation and support of numerous stakeholders, cargo owners will be able to appreciate the economic benefits of the project and the plan for its implementation. This will contribute to building trust-based relationships with the public and the fact that the NSR will soon become an alternative to the existing popular routes between Europe and Asia.”
In 2018, Rosatom was assigned the infrastructure operator for the Northern Sea Route (NSR) being put in charge of organizing navigation along the NSR, constructing infrastructure facilities, providing navigation and hydrographic support, and arranging a navigation safety system in severe Arctic conditions. Rosatom curates two federal projects which are "Development of the Northern Sea Route" and "Northern Sea Route - 2030", being also involved in the implementation of the plan for the development of the Northern Sea Route until 2035 and the initiative for the social and economic development of the Russian Federation until 2030 "Year-round Northern Sea Route” approved by the order of the Government of the Russian Federation. The NSR Directorate of Rosatom includes Atomflot FSUE, Hydrographic Enterprise FSUE and GlavSevmorput FSBI.
Federal State Budgetary Institution Main Directorate of the Northern Sea Route (GlavSevmorput FSBI) was established in accordance with the order of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 2019-р of July 23, 2022. The main mission of the Directorate is to organize the navigation in the waters of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). GlavSevmorput is in charge of organizing icebreaking escort of ships and escort of ships along the NSR navigation routes, as well as the working out of the navigation routes for ships and arrangement of icebreaker fleet vessels in the NSR water area, taking into account the hydrometeorological, ice and navigational situation in the NSR water area; issuance, suspension, renewal and termination of permits for navigation in the waters of the NSR, amendments to such permits. To fulfil these tasks, the management ensures arrangement of icebreaker fleet vessels in the water area of the NSR; monitoring of the traffic in the water area of the NSR; provision of information on hydrometeorological, ice and navigation conditions in the NSR water area; receipt of information from vessels located in the water area of the NSR.
The integrated development of the Russian Arctic is a national strategic priority. To increase the traffic along the Northern Sea Route is of paramount importance for accomplishment of the tasks set for transportation and delivery of goods. The development of this logistics corridor is ensured with regular cargo shipment, construction of new nuclear-powered icebreakers and modernization of the relevant infrastructure. Rosatom companies take an active part in this work.