The Northern Sea Route

The Northern Sea Route

The Northern sea route (NSR) is the national Maritime transport route of Russia in the Arctic [2]. The NSR is almost 2 times shorter than other sea routes from Europe to the far East — from Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok via the NSR 14,280 km, from Leningrad to Vladivostok via the Suez canal 23,200 km, and around the Cape of Good Hope 29,400 km [3]. The Northern sea route is one of the most significant and, one might say, the only transport corridor for cargo transportation in the Arctic regions of Russia.

Let’s analyze statistical data for the coming years, namely 2018, 2017 and 2016. in 2016, the volume of traffic along the Northern sea route amounted to 7.5 million tons, in 2017 10.7 million tons, which is 40% more than in 2016. in 2018 – 19.7, which is almost twice as much as in 2017[4]. Thus, we can conclude that the Northern sea route is developing more and more every year, which, in turn, also has a positive impact on the development of the Russian economy as a whole.

Due to the growing importance of the Northern sea route logistics at the international level, the priority was to ensure the competitiveness of logistics centers, which include transport and terminals for storage, warehousing, storage and transportation of goods. In other words, it is necessary to ensure innovative development of the infrastructure of the Northern sea route ports.

Currently, an external 4PL network is used for transport via the NSR. This is a service in which the cargo owner engages a third-party company to provide logistics services and gives it the right to provide services for planning and designing the supply chain, transfers tasks for managing business processes at the enterprise. Using the shipping capabilities of the NSR and the 4PL outsourcing network is the basis for creating an innovative level 5 logistics system for the Russian Federation. The 5PL operator uses the global information technology space and can provide a full range of services. This concept is based on the use of a client-oriented approach, rather than a resource-based approach, as is customary in our country. If necessary, the outsourcer decides how to use resources to perform a logical operation, and takes responsibility for insurance and other risks. This model will help ensure the competitiveness of terminal and warehouse centers.

The main problem that does not allow improving and creating new transport routes in the Arctic is the low rate of development of the coastal and railway infrastructure of the Northern sea route. Most of the current investment projects are aimed at solving the problem of connecting the continental and port infrastructure into a single logistics system.

The largest and most promising logistics project in the Arctic is the construction of the Northern latitudinal route (SSH), a railway connecting the Western and Eastern parts of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous district, the Northern and Sverdlovsk Railways in a single logistics system. The following infrastructure projects can also be identified:

Within the framework of the Yamal-LNG project, the Arctic port of Sabetta is being built to serve the production of liquefied natural gas, which has recently increased, and further transportation along the routes of the Northern sea route.
The project for the comprehensive development of the Murmansk transport hub is the creation of transport infrastructure on the Western shore of the Kola Bay, including the construction of coal and oil terminals, and the development of railway infrastructure.
Belkomur railway (“White sea – Komi – Ural”), which will connect the Northern Urals and the Komi Republic with the ports of the North-West, significantly shortening the route to Europe from the regions of Siberia and Asia.

Another important task that requires immediate attention is to improve the efficiency of Arctic seaports. Currently, almost the entire territory of the NSR is being restored, modernized and new ports are being built.

Thanks to all these projects for the development of the Northern sea route infrastructure, it is possible to create new routes and improve existing ones.

The main problem in the development of the Northern sea route is the impact of cargo transport on the Arctic environment. The fuel used to navigate NSR ships pollutes the waters of the Arctic ocean. When it is burned, sulfur and sulfur anhydrides, nitrogen oxides, gaseous and solid products of incomplete combustion, and sodium salts are also formed, which are released into the atmosphere and have a significant impact on the environment. Arctic. In the case of living organisms, emissions from fuel combustion accumulate gradually and lead to the degradation of biological resources, including the entire food chain.

In addition, the combustion of fuel generates soot, which leads to a faster melting of the ice layer when it settles on the ice. A large influx of fresh water in turn changes the chemical composition of seawater and has a corresponding impact on the biological resources of the Arctic. Oil contamination of ice also accelerates its melting. As a result, any oil spill in the Arctic will contribute to the rapid expansion of open water, and the sun’s rays will heat up faster than the ice, which will be accompanied by an accelerated decrease in the ice cover.

Thus, the anthropogenic impact on the nature of the Arctic has irreparable negative consequences, despite the effective transportation of goods through the NSR.

The Northern sea route is a complex and developing system. To support this development, it is necessary to implement infrastructure projects, logistics projects, and monitor the impact of cargo transportation on the Arctic environment.

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