European Shipping Companies Far More Active on Northern Sea Route than Asian Ones

Domestic significance

What do you think of the future numbers and roles of European companies operating on the NSR? "It is likely that European shipping companies will be equally involved in project development for the upcoming Arctic LNG-2 plant and the Utrenniy terminal in the Ob Bay, due to start operations in 2023, as was the case for Yamal LNG. As before this will include transport of prefabricated LNG modules, dredging and support for offshore operations," Gunnarsson says. 

The senior researcher notes however that Russia will not be as dependent on foreign shipping companies in the medium to long-term as it was for the Yamal LNG project. "The experiences gained from the Yamal LNG project will enable Russia to speed up its own LNG project development. According to President Vladimir Putin, Russia will strive to become the world's largest LNG producer, and to reach the president's goal Russia needs to put much more emphasis on LNG technologies, engineering and plant manufacturing."

The Russian government has also put in place several regulations that may impact international traffic on the NSR, such as amendments to the Russian Merchant Shipping Code that only allow Russian flag vessels to transport Russian hydrocarbon resources within NSR borders. Gunnarsson says such regulations will have major future implications for foreign cargo vessels servicing new energy projects along the NSR.  "The changes are meant to strengthen the role of Russian shipping industry and shipping companies, and sets the tone for Russia's increasing control of future shipping on the NSR with its natural resources."

As High North News has reported on, President Putin sees the route as key for development of the Russian Arctic and the Far East.

"NSR is of high strategic and economic significance for Russia as a transport corridor along its whole Arctic coastline and as a gateway to the North Atlantic Ocean in the west and to the North-Pacific Ocean in the east," the senior researcher adds. 

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