Russia plans to invest in a new shipping lane to rival the Chinese and European’s Suez Canal through an expansion of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). Recent drops in oil prices may delay the onset of NSR development despite Russian ambition to increase shipping to 80,000 tons per year.
The Hellenic Shipping News details Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s plans to develop the new arctic shipping lane.
“This is the shortest route connecting Europe with the Far East, from the Asian-Pacific region to the Western half of North America,” Medvedev was quoted as saying in a statement on the government’s website.
“Construction is planned for several larger Coast Guard patrol ships with a displacement of 6,000 to 7,000 tons,” Barabanov said, adding that the ships will double as icebreakers. Several design bureaus are now competing for tenders to design the ships, he said.
As fuel costs make up the majority of the cost of transporting goods, the NSR offers potentially massive savings for shippers, especially as EU-Chinese trade ties deepen.