April 15 - GAC Russia has teamed up with the Far East Development Fund to address the challenges faced by international shipping companies transiting the Northern Sea Route (NSR), and to make this transport corridor more attractive to ship and cargo owner

The strategic partnership's first move will be to conduct extensive research within the shipping community to collect data on NSR navigation experiences. Building on this feedback and the belief that the NSR will be a significant factor in the future development of global maritime trade, the initiative will then explore a range of options to make it more competitive and attract more traffic.

Denis Askinadze, managing director of the Far East Development Fund, says: "It would be hard to overstate the significance of the NSR for Russia's economy. It has been an important transport corridor contributing to the economic growth both of the Arctic regions and of Russia as a whole. Pursuing the goal of practical development of the NSR and drawing on the GAC Russia team's extensive local knowledge of the Arctic region and global shipping and logistics expertise, we believe that this partnership will address the challenges and help to form a hands-on solution for all users of the NSR."

Arkady Podkopaev, GAC Russia's managing director, notes that the company's  operational bases in Murmansk and Sabetta, combined with a network of well-established agents along the NSR enables it to provide a single point of contact for integrated shipping and logistics services in the Arctic region.

"It's a complex area in which we're well-versed," he adds. "We're committed to providing optimal support to our client base and reducing their costs. With that in mind we are about to conduct a client survey, to ascertain the needs and concerns of those using the NSR, and to ensure that we address the same."

The survey will involve shipping companies ranging from those who have already used the NSR to those who have ruled it out for now. Their feedback will form the robust foundation on which GAC Russia and the Far East Development Fund will build their future strategies and, in GAC's case, deliver services precisely aligned with specific needs.

"We firmly believe we're on course to make the NSR more attractive to shipping companies and encourage them to take advantage of the shorter distance and time benefits on offer," concludes Podkopaev. "Our aim is to bring about fast and positive change by July 1, 2016 when summer navigation commences, and all those who take part in the survey will in turn benefit from the expected mitigation of economical, technical and organisational challenges highlighted leading to optimum support during their NSR navigations."

Participation in the survey is open to all and it can be accessed here.

GAC Russia's shipping supervisor Igo Polyakov at Sabetta

Denis Askinadze, managing director of the Far East Development Fund