Transport to Be Key Theme of ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ 5th International Arctic Forum Business Programme
The development of the Arctic’s transport infrastructure will be one of the main themes of the ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ 5th International Arctic Forum, which will be held in St. Petersburg on 9-10 April 2019.
The special session ‘The Northern Sea Route – The Key to the Development of the Russian Arctic’, which will be held during the Forum, will feature discussions of various approaches to the development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) as a national-scale transport and logistics project. The session moderator will be Russia 24 TV channel host Dmitry Shchugorev. The meeting participants will discuss ways to achieve the NSR development target set by Russian President Vladimir Putin of increasing cargo shipments via the NSR to 80 million tonnes by 2024.
Rosatom State Corporation Director General Alexey Likhachev, whose organization was entrusted with the functions of the infrastructure operator of the NSR last year, will speak at the session. “In order to accomplish our goal, we at Rosatom are planning work in several areas all at once. There must be a powerful Arctic nuclear icebreaking group, and our plans include upgrading the icebreaker fleet, building new nuclear icebreakers (including with the use of mixed funding where only 50% of the required funds are allocated from the federal budget). The second major objective is to create new infrastructure in this region and modernize existing infrastructure. We plan to discuss all this with our partners”, he said.
Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic Alexander Kozlov, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev, Sovcomflot President and CEO Sergei Frank, and others are expected to attend the event.The theme of developing Arctic logistics will also be discussed as part of the ‘Open Ocean’ pillar of the business programme with the session ‘Transport Connectivity: The Arctic, Far East, Siberia, and the Urals’. The establishment of a unified logistics system as a tool for regional integration, business, search and rescue services, research expeditions, and tourism is of great importance within the context of developing a common transport system in the region.
“According to the Strategy for the Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation and Ensuring National Security for the Period until 2020, which was approved by Vladimir Putin, there is a shortage of airplanes, aircraft equipment, and technological capabilities to study and use the Russian Arctic”, Advisor to the Russian President Anton Kobyakov said, underscoring the importance of this theme. “In this regard, we need to develop a programme to transition to an innovative path of expanding the industry’s capabilities in order to create a powerful development trend for the regional economy. I am certain that we will accomplish a lot in this regard during the relevant events of the International Arctic Forum 2019 business programme”.
A roundtable titled ‘Prospects for the Development of the Northern Sea Route’ will be held on board the 50 Let Pobedy nuclear icebreaker as a special offsite event on the sidelines of the Forum. The roundtable participants will discuss proposals to enhance the efficient organization of ship navigation, improve the monitoring of ice conditions and the provision of navigation and hydrographic support in the waters of the Northern Sea Route, develop seaport infrastructure as well as establish a cargo base and build an icebreaking fleet. The event will be organized with the support of Rosatom and will take place in real winter and spring navigation conditions in the Ob Bay of the Kara Sea. The roundtable will be moderated by Deputy Director of Rosatom State Corporation and Director of the Northern Sea Route Directorate Vyacheslav Ruksha.
The Northern Sea Route (NSR) is the main navigable artery of the Arctic and the shortest route between Northern Europe and the Far East. The length of the NSR from the Kara Strait to Providence Bay is about 5,600 nautical miles. The NSR is a viable alternative to the Suez Canal: whereas the route from Murmansk to the port of Yokohama (Japan) via the Suez Canal is about 12,500 nautical miles, the NSR cuts the trip down to only 5,770 nautical miles.