NARYAN-MAR, July 24 (Itar-Tass) —— The total freight traffic along the Northern Sea Route may exceed five million tonnes in 2012, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said earlier at the meeting of Russia’s Sea Board.
He reported that over 2010, the Northern Sea Route’s transit freight traffic made about 110,000 tonnes.
“During this year, this traffic should make 800,000 tonnes, plus additional 2,200 thousand tonnes of our domestic cargo,” he said. “As for the coming year, the cargo traffic is forecasted to exceed five million tonnes.”
Russia’s Transport Ministry has drafted addendums to legislation, which are necessary to be made in the state regulations of trade seafaring along the Northern Sea Route. The bill, among others, contains tariffs for services of icebreaking fleet in the water area of the Northern Sea Route.
“The tariffs should depend on the ice class of a vessel, on the distance, area and season,” Ivanov said. “This would mean – the higher is the ice class of a vessel, the lower is the tariff rate.”
During winter months the tariffs should be higher, and during summer and autumn – lower, he added.
This approach will stimulate navigation companies to build vessels of high Arctic classes, it would require fewer icebreakers and will improve navigation security to raise the cargo traffic, Ivanov explained and ordered to forward the addendums to the government without delay.
The Northern Sea Route (NSR) is the Russian name for what is often known outside Russia as the Northeast Passage (NEP). In Europe, the term Northeast Passage has for centuries nurtured visions – that have never completely died out – of an adventurous shortcut that may bring about a revolution in sea trade between Europe and East Asia. In Russia, the term Northern Sea Route holds different connotations, and evokes visions of a grand national transport corridor, created by the efforts of the Russian people, and mainly used for bringing natural resources out, and for bringing deliveries in to the many settlements in the Russian Arctic. Since Soviet times, Russia has built up an Arctic shipping infrastructure – including most notably the fleet of powerful nuclear ice-breakers – and claims jurisdiction over the route.
The NSR can not be thought of as one clearly defined linear route, but should instead be thought of as the whole sea area north of Russia. Due to the highly variable and difficult ice conditions present along most of the NSR, the optimal route choice for vessels navigating the NSR will vary.