Multinational port operator DP World has confirmed that it wants to operate a network of ports that Russia intends to build along the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
The agreement of intent was signed during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last week. Parties to the deal include the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Rosatom (infrastructure operator of the NSR), Norilsk Nickel, and DP World.
The focus of the deal is on the transportation of containers and bulk cargoes along the NSR. The partners will now prepare a feasibility study for the project within six months. Subject to this work being completed, a decision will be made on future development.
Navigation through the Arctic has been long sought by mariners, but only in the last eight years has climate change, coupled with the opening of the Arctic region to commercial development, made such navigation possible.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, speaking in his state of the nation address in March 2018, said that Russia wants to increase traffic along the NSR tenfold to 80 million tonnes by 2025.
Travelling via the NSR shortens the sailing distance from Norway to China, for example, by more than 40 percent to 23 from 40 days, in comparison to the usual route through the Suez Canal.
Various heavy lift shipping lines have gained experience of sailing the NSR in recent years – primarily driven by the construction of the USD27 billion Yamal LNG plant at Sabetta. The approval of the Arctic LNG 2 project on the Gydan Peninsula in the north of Siberia, will likely support another wave of modular shipments along the route.