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Volume of Cargo Transportation Along the Northern Sea Route Increased by 8.3% in January

February 2, 2021, “ Rosmorrechflot”

According to the data provided by the NSR Administration, 2.598 million tons of cargo were transported along the NSR in January 2021, an increase over the same period in 2020 amounted to 8.3%.

At the moment, the water area of ​​the Northern Sea Route is covered with consolidated one-year ice. There are hummocks up to 3-4 points, fields of frost on the recommended routes in the Gulf of Ob and on the approaches to it, the captains of the ships note periodic ice compression.

At Cape Zhelaniya and on the approaches to the Boris Vilkitsky Strait, an iceberg threat remains.

Icebreaking operations in the water area of ​​the NSR were carried out by conventional icebreakers ‘Admiral Makarov’ and ‘Krasin’ (FSUE Rosmorport), the nuclear-powered icebreakers ‘Yamal’, ‘Vaygach’, ‘Taimyr’ and ‘50 Let Pobedy’ (the last one entered the water area of ​​the NSR on January 23rd).

Icebreaking support in the port of Sabetta was carried out by the icebreakers ‘Ob’, ‘Tor’, ‘St. Petersburg’ (FSUE Rosmorport), in the port of Dudinka – by the icebreakers ‘Dudinka’ and ‘Avraamy Zavenyagin’.

The icebreakers ‘Alexander Sannikov’ and ‘Andrey Vilkitsky’ ensured the safety of navigation at the “Arctic” oil export terminal of the “Gates of the Arctic” Novoportovskoye field.

In January 2021, the NSR Administration issued 5 permits for vessels flying a foreign flag to sail in the water area of ​​the NSR (in 2020, 9 permits were issued for the same period, including 6 for vessels flying a foreign flag).


The World’s Largest Research Expeditionary Vessel for the Arctic and Antarctic Will Be Built in Russia


The “Nevskoye Design Bureau” in cooperation with the “Admiralty Shipyards” and the Institute of the Arctic and Antarctic is developing a universal research expeditionary vessel code-named ‘Albatross’. Mikhail Rudenko, chief designer of the “Nevskoye Design Bureau”, informed about the ship’s project at the conference “Russia and Germany: Technological Partnership in the Field of Shipbuilding”.

He specified the primary technical characteristics of the ship:  Arc7 ice class, length – 160.4 m, width – 26 m, displacement – about 25 thousand tons.

Albatross’ will be equipped with the most modern components including two large cranes with a lifting capacity of 50 tons, a powerful ship propulsion complex with two 7.5 MW rudder-propeller AZIPOD drives,  hydraulic hatch covers and other marine engineering equipment – winches, spiers, etc. Moreover, all equipment must withstand extremely low temperatures.

Mr. Rudenko noted the fact that vessels like “Albatross’ have prospects for the development of exports from Russia.

Today Russia has the largest network of Antarctic stations. There are five stations in operation –  Novolazarevskaya, Progress, Bellingshausen, Mirny and Vostok. Inaddition, there are fieldairfields, sub-bases, etc. There are 53 Russian bases in the Arctic, and each of them has scientific personnel. Special scientific expedition ships are being built to supply the stations. There are three such vessels in Russia at the moment – ‘Mikhail Somov’, ‘Akademician Fedorov’ and ‘Akademician Treshnikov’. But the first two need to be replaced soon.

Research expeditionary vessels are designed not only to replace the personnel of the Arctic and Antarctic stations, but also to deliver various supplies – fuel, dry cargo and can independently conduct scientific research in the World Ocean. In terms of their functionality, such vessels combine the functions of a passenger vessel, research vessel, container ship, dry cargo ship, tanker, helicopter carrier and icebreaker. In other words, one vessel combines the functions of seven at once.

According to Mr. Rudenko, the construction of multi-functional ships has become a worldwide trend in recent years. As for the progress of construction of similar ships in other countries, in 2019 the “Snow Dragon – 2” was built in China. This year it is planned The commissioning of the British ship “Sir David Attenborough” is planned for 2021, the Canadian icebreaker “John Diefenbaker” will hopefully be constructed in 2022. Last year, the Australian Arc 3 research and supply vessel ‘Nuyina’ was launched at Galati shipyard in Romania and towed to the Damen shipyard in Vlissingen, Netherlands for fitting the equipment and completion of construction. Her length is 160.3 m. In other words, ‘Albatross’ will slightly surpass ‘Nuyina’ in size and become the largest icebreaking research expeditionary ship in the world.

Natalia Gusatchenko, “Water Transport” / News


Russia and India Connect the Continents with the ‘North-South’ Transport Corridor

January 29, 2021  “PortNews”


The ‘North-South’ transport corridor, which will compete with the route through the Suez Canal, is becoming increasingly clear-cut. The port of Mumbai will become a gateway to this route, India is the most interested party in this project. Russia will also receive enormous benefits from the international transport corridor, playing the role of a transit country.

The idea of ​​connecting continents with a full-fledged transport corridor has been discussed for 20 years. Initially, three states participated in the project: Russia, India and Iran. Their goal was to connect the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf with the Caspian Sea through Iran. This would provide a route to the Nordic countries via Russia. Later, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Oman, Syria and Bulgaria (as an observer) joined the project.

The transport connectivity of these states will contribute to the development of trade in the Eurasian space.

Currently, cargo from India to Russia goes mainly via Europe and China. It takes a long time. For example, cargo going to Europe from India is delivered by sea to St. Petersburg within 40 days. Such long transportation is also expensive.

A test flight along the ‘North-South’ International transport corridor showed that cargo from India to Russia travels twice as fast via Iran and Azerbaijan. The cost of such transportation can be reduced by almost 30%, says the newspaper “Kommersant”.

Under the project, railways, highways and sea routes will be used for cargo transportation. A 50-kilometer railway line has already been constructed across Russia to the seaport of Olya in the Astrakhan region. The harbor will proceed a variety of container ships.

The launch of the route as a whole largely depends on the position and activity of India. This is the conclusion reached by the authors of the MGIMO study “Eurasian Strategies”. The challenge is that China, interested in increasing the possibilities of export supplies to Europe, is developing latitudinal routes, while India is considering meridional routes. India has already invested over two billion dollars in the project and plans to go further. Experts are confident that the start of cargo transportation along the ‘North-South’ international transport corridor , will accelerate bilateral Indian-Russian trade as well.

The January Voyage of Тwo LNG Carriers in the Eastern Arctic Is a Step Towards Year-Round Safe NSR Navigation

MOSCOW, 22.01.2021. “Rosmorrechflot”

The ice-class LNG carrier ‘Christophe de Margerie’ reached the Dezhnev Cape abeam on January 16, completing the crossing along the Northern Sea Route in an easterly direction. For the first time, the transportation of LNG from the port of Sabetta on Yamal Peninsula to the Asia-Pacific region via the NSR was accomplished in January.

Another LNG carrier sistership performed a similar NSR transit one day later. She used the data provided by ‘Christophe de Margerie’ and the channel she laid in the ice fields. This made it possible to work out the tactics of interaction between two Arctic ice-class gas carriers during independent navigation in heavy ice environment.

The results of the 10-day passage of gas carriers along the route Sabetta – Bering Strait became another step bringing closer the possibility of organizing year-round safe navigation along the entire length of the NSR in the Russian Arctic. In turn, this will contribute to an increase in cargo traffic in the water area of ​​the Northern Sea Route and the progress of its transit potential as a real alternative to traditional transport routes via the Suez Channel.

On January 18, Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev received a video call from Sergei Genya, the master of the gas carrier, who reported the successful completion of the crossing to Pacific The event was also attended by Sergei Frank, “Sovcomflot” Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Igor Tonkovidov, “Sovcomflot” CEO and Chairman of the Management Board.

The head of the Ministry of Transport congratulated “Sovcomflot” PJSC on the successful completion of the transit and expressed gratitude to the captain and crew of the vessel for fulfilling a responsible task at a high professional level. “Rosmorrechflot” head Alexander Poshivay made a report on the Agency efforts to provide navigation safety in the water area of ​​the Northern Sea Route, including the issuance of permits for navigation in this area by the NSR Administration, taking into account the ice conditions. He noted the 2% growth in the number of permits for the NSR navigation issued in 2020. Recalling the continuation of hydrographic studies on the NSR in accordance with the plan agreed by Rosmorrechflot, he announced the planned growth of survey activities on the Northern Sea Route routes by 2.5 times for 2021, up to 75 thousand kilometers. Also, the operation of six GLONASS control and correction stations and the transmission of information on the safety of navigation to ships will be ensured.

The captains of six seaports located on the NSR continuously exercise state port control and implement a permitting procedure for leaving the ports to prevent ships that do not meet current requirements from entering the Arctic waters, the head of “Rosmorrechflot” noted.

“Reducing the duration of the voyage when using the NSR in comparison with the traditional southern route through the Suez Channel provides not only economic efficiency, but also a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of cargo transportation. The volume of carbon dioxide emissions within the framework of this transit will be 3000 tons or 30% lower compared to similar transportation along the southern route,” commented Mr. Igor Tonkovidov. The use of satellite ice reconnaissance data as well as analytical methods for assessing and forecasting ice conditions, developed by Sovcomflot specialists, made it possible to choose the safest and most cost-effective route for the vessel, he added.

Japan Intends to Actively Participate in NSR Development

January 20, “PortNews”

Japan presented a draft of a new concept of trade and economic cooperation in the Far East and the Arctic

Japan intends to actively participate in the development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). According to the press service of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic, this topic was discussed during a meeting between Alexei Chekunkov, the Minister, and Toyohisa Kozuki, the Japanese Ambassador in Russia.

According to Amb. Kozuki, the NSR logistics is 40% more efficient than traditional shipping routes. Japanese companies are already transporting LNG along the Northern Sea Route using LNG carriers.

The launch of a regular container line via the NSR is one of the promising areas of Russian-Japanese cooperation in the Arctic.

Let’s add that since 2019 the “Mitsui – Jogmec” consortium has been participating in the ‘Arctic LNG-2’ project for the production of LNG. The planned volume of Japanese investment in the project is $ 3 billion. The start-up of the first line is scheduled for 2023, with a phased commissioning of the facility in 2023-2025.

Japan has developed and presented to Russia a draft of a new concept of trade and economic cooperation in the Far East and the Arctic. It is aimed at enhancing trade and economic cooperation and involves expanding interaction in several directions at once: such as energy, logistics, fish processing industry, port and transport infrastructure, urban environment, tourism.

Comments: Japan has been reluctant to define its Arctic policy for a long time. Earlier, Japanese shipping companies were skeptical about the idea of transporting goods along the NSR. It is possible that the cabinet of the new Prime Minister Suga has revised the overly cautious policy of its predecessor, Shintaro Abe, in relation to economic, transport and logistics cooperation in the Arctic. And this is logical, because the other NEA powers, China and South Korea, have already engaged in a number of serious projects in the Polar Ocean.

A Large Natural Gas Liquefaction Plant and a Sea Terminal Are Planned for Construction in the North of Khabarovsk Territory

January 19, “RZhD Partner”

The project is planned for implementation by the “Yakutsk Fuel and Energy Company” (YaFEC). According to Andrey Korobov, YaFEC Director General, it is planned to build a main gas pipeline with a length of about 1.3 thousand kilometers from Yakutia to the coast of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk in the Khabarovsk Territory, where LNG production  facility will be constructed.

The company holds licenses for the commercial development of the Srednevilyuisky and Mastakhskoye gas condensate fields, the exploration and development of the Tolonsky area. Recently YaFEC won the auction, obtaining the right to produce hydrocarbons in the North, South and Maysky blocks with a total area of ​​43.5 thousand square meters with total reserves of 359 billion cubic meters of gas.

“We must prepare the company for the implementation of the largest LNG project in Russia – ‘Yakutsk LNG’, the implementation format of which directly depends on the YaFEC resource base,” commented A. Korobov.

Currently, the largest LNG production in the Far East region is located on Sakhalin Island. The specialized sea terminal in the village of Prigorodnoye annually ships up to 9.6 million tons of LNG. The planned LNG plant + terminal in Khabarovsk Territory will be capable of shipping up to 18 million tons of LNG annually.


Comments: This ambitious project is risky, challenging and costly, but if it is accomplished the deserted areas of the Far East of Russia will get a powerful boost in its economic and social development. Diversification of LNG supply options located close to potential regional consumers is definitely attractive for all project participants.

‘North Pole” Ice-Resistant Self-Propelled Platform Launched

December 29, 2020

On December 18, the “Admiralty Shipyards” in St.Petersburg launched an ice-resistant self-propelled marine platform (LSP) ‘North Pole’ of project 00903, ordered by the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (RosHydroMet).

The contract between JSC ”Admiralty Shipyards” and RosHydroMet was signed in April 2018. The keel was laid down on April 10, 2019. The construction of the vessel is being carried out within the framework of the federal program for the socio-economic development of the Arctic region of the Russian Federation.

LSP ‘North Pole’ has the functionality of a research center and is designed for year-round expeditions in the high latitudes of the Arctic Ocean. The vessel is designed to conduct geological, acoustic, geophysical and oceanographic research; it is capable of passing through ice without icebreaker support, as well as operating heavy helicopters such as MI-8 AMT (Mi-17). The LSP will provide comfortable and safe working and living conditions for the crew (14 people) and scientific personnel (34) at the polar station at temperatures down to -50o and humidity 85%.

The main operational and technical characteristics of the LSP: length – 83.1 m; width – 22.5 m; displacement – about 10,390 tons; power plant – 4200 kW; speed – at least 10 knots; hull strength – Arc8; autonomy in terms of fuel reserves – about 2 years; service life – at least 25 years.. The ‘North Pole’ ice-resistant self-propelled marine platform is classified as KM (*) Arc5 [1] AUT1-C HELIDECK-F Special purpose ship by.Russian Maritime Register of Shipping:

“Admiralty Shipyards” have extensive experience in building ice-class ships. In 1959, the shipyard built the world’s first nuclear icebreaker ‘Lenin’; in 1979 the research vessel ‘Otto Schmidt’. Since the early 2000s the shipyard constructed  a series of five ice-going tankers with a deadweight of 20,000 tons; Arctic tankers ‘Mikhail Ulyanov’ and ‘Kirill Lavrov’ with deadweight of 70,000 tons; scientific expeditionary vessel ‘Akademik Tryoshnikov’.


“Rosmorport” Commenced Testing of the Unmanned Navigation Project

14 November 2020, PortNews

FSUE “Rosmorport” has begun testing equipment for unmanned navigation, the press service of the enterprise said. The project is being implemented with the support of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation with the participation of the Ministry of Transport and the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping.

Last year, “Rosmorport” allocated a bundle of vessels as part of a dredging caravan for testing the technologies of unmanned navigation within the framework of the Marine Industry Center of the National Technology Initiative. The “Redout” dredger was equipped with a remote control station for the “Rabochaya” dredging scow, from which the scow will be monitored and controlled. Special equipment was also installed on the part of a single basic technological platform.

Full-scale tests began this November. Testing takes place in the Kerch Strait near the port of “Kavkaz” under the general guidance of the working group of the ‘Marinet’ industry center. The distance from the dredging area to the offshore dump is about 30 km. This distance is planned to be covered by the scow in remote or automatic control modes.

“Rosmorport” expects that in the future one crew on the lead vessel – the dredger, will be capable to simultaneously control all the ships of the dredging convoy at once. This will optimize the number of crew on board and improve the coordination of dredging activities.

Other means of unmanned technologies are also assessed by “Rosmorport”, in particular, remote pilotage, the use of unmanned service boats and aerial drones for monitoring the ice situation.


Comments: The approach by “Rosmorport” to the issue of unmanned vessels seems pragmatic and justifiable. Lower scale projects like dredging, harbor pilotage, small crafts operations can be performed relatively safe and secure due to its proximity to control stations. Larger vessels in high seas are much more vulnerable to equipment failures and foreign intrusion with inability for the real time correction or repair.

A New Kuril Ship to Make Its Maiden Voyage Next April

November 9, 2020

Residents and guests of the Kuril Islands will not suffer from the budget cuts in the region, the government promises. 13.9 billion rubles have been allocated for the “Islands Development” program by the regional treasury. Kuril residents are not threatened with forced isolation either – Sakhalin transport minister Valery Spichenko assured that the region will continue to subsidize as many flights to the islands as necessary. Moreover, in spring a brand new motor vessel will join the airplanes and the old ship “Igor Farkhutdinov”.This year, the Nevsky Shipbuilding Plant is completing the construction of two vessels for the Kuril Islands. The sea trials of the first ship have already begun, and the second is to be tested in the near future. We are waiting for the ships to arrive at Sakhalin in March 2021, and in April we plan to put the first ship on the line,” Mr. Spichenko reported.

The government has less specific information about the new ferries.  One of them has already been towed to Vladivostok for completion at the “Dalzavod” Shipyard, the second is still at the Amur Shipyard in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. So far, the planned completion date for both vessels is set for 2022, but it may be changed for later. The Amur Shipyard already had difficulties with the construction of both ferries, and the date of their commissioning had to be postponed.

Another good news for travel enthusiasts is that even the global economic crisis and COVID-19 pandemic have not forced the regional authorities to abandon plans for “sea trams” along the Western coast of Sakhalin Island. Now the regional Ministry of Transport is engaged in the selection of a vessel for cruising along the picturesque coast. It should be comfortable and fast. Finally, railroad news. Three new rail buses, codenamed “Orlan”, are due to arrive in the region this month. Two of them will also be equipped for long-haul lines and, possibly, will ride between Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Poronaysk Town or even Nogliki settlement. 18 new rail cars have also been purchased recently by the passenger company “Sakhalin”.


Investment Port Dues to Be Introduced in Selected Russian Seaports

07/11/2020   PortNews

05/11/2020  NewsVL.RU

The draft order of the Ministry of Transport of Russia “On approval of the required investment port dues for 2021-2023” has been published. The draft document and the explanatory note to it are posted on the Federal Portal for the placement of draft regulatory legal acts. Public discussion of the draft will last until November 20, 2020.

The calculation of the investment port dues (IPD) for 2021-2023 was made by FSUE “Rosmorport” based on actual data on the total gross tonnage of vessels who entered Russian seaports during 9 months of 2020. A prerequisite for the introduction of the IPS in Russian seaports was a sharp and long-term decline of the Ruble against US$ (more than 2 times), the main currency of foreign trade (90% of ship calls at the seaports of the Russian Federation are carried out by vessels of foreign navigation). Assessment of the amount of lost funds from levying port dues is the basis for calculating the permissible (maximum) aggregate amount of port dues.

To assess the impact of the introduction of the ISS on the competitiveness of Russian seaports, the ‘Rosmorport’ performed a comparative analysis of the cost of the call of the same vessel in Russian and foreign seaports – competitors within the boundaries of the North-Western and Southern geographical sea basins. There is no competitive environment for the ports of the Far East.

For Russian ports located in the Northwest Basin, the main competing ports are the ports of the Baltic and North Seas. Calculations based on a sample of 10 foreign and 5 Russian seaports show that the total amount of port dues in domestic ports is lower by 30% – 60% of the average level for the basin, even taking into account the introduction of the IPD and the indexation of the current rates.

Within the borders of the Southern Basin the main competitors of the are the ports of Ukraine, in which the rates of port dues are set in US dollars and are generally 2 – 2,5 times higher than in Russian ports of Novorossiysk and Tuapse.

Taking into account the establishment of the size of the ISS at the level proposed by ‘Rosmorport’, the cost of a ship call in currency terms will be lower than the pre-crisis level.

In its turn, the Federal Antimonopoly Agency of Russia (FAA) has prepared a draft order on the approval of IPD rates in the ports of the Russian Federation.  The list includes the Bolshoi Port of St. Petersburg, Primorsk, Ust-Luga, Vysotsk, Novorossiysk, Tuapse, Vostochny, Nakhodka, Vladivostok, Vanino, De-Kastri, Prigorodnoye and Murmansk. The fee in 2021 will be 12.31 rubles / 1 GT (gross tonnage of the vessel). The FAA proposes to set a multiplying coefficient of 1.235 for 2022 by 2021 and 1.406 for 2023 by the size of 2021.

The draft order establishes that the indicated IPD rates are the maximum. ‘Rosmorport’ has the right to apply IPD rates at or below the maximum level.

“As for the IPD, I said that it was introduced only in 13 of our 67 ports, that is, exactly where it is needed,” said the head of ‘Rosmorrechflot’ Federal Agency Alexander Poshivai. “And there, in these ports, where it was introduced, its impact on the cost of a ship call will be insignificant.”

*** The government of the Russian Federation approved in 2019 the rules for the IPD collection for the ships of foreign navigation. The amount of the fee must be determined upon agreement between the Ministry of Transport and FAA. IPD is not collected from ships entering the port without carrying out cargo operations or servicing passengers, as well as from transit and ships that repeatedly enter the port after leaving it by the decision of the captain of the seaport or for carrying out deviation procedures.