Rogozin: Northern Sea Route could become operational round the year
“Russia has all the possibilities to make the Northern Sea Route operational round the year and in any season,” vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin said today at a plenary session of the international forum on the Arctic.
"It is important that our structures and bodies responsible for the Northern Sea Route and the administration of the Northern Sea Route should be generators of ideas rather than the bodies stating facts and they should elaborate proposals on creating those technologies that will help make the Northern Sea Route operational round the year and in any season," the vice-premier said. "We have all technological possibilities for this," Rogozin added.
According to his report, the ambitious tasks of developing the Northern Sea Route are a priority for Russia along with the task of ensuring mobility and transport accessibility, TASS reports.
The Northern Sea Route development model will integrate all kinds of transport communication, including the air, river and railway carriages. In his state-of-the-nation address to both houses of Russia’s parliament, President Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of the competitiveness of the Northern Sea Route, which should become a link between Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region, the vice-premier said.
Russia also needs to create its icebreaker fleet, which will open big prospects for leading vessels along the Northern Sea Route, the vice-premier noticed.
Rogozin noted that Russia has invited China to take part in delivery of cargos to the Northern Sea Route.
"Our Chinese partners got interested in it. We do not rule out that there may be interests related to the economic development of the Silk Road. We proposed them to participate in such projects of building railways to transport cargos to the ports of the NSR. In fact, we can say now that this is not just the economic Silk Road but the cool Silk Road," - Rogozin said.
According to the official, raising competitiveness of the Northern Sea Route is only possible if port infrastructure is seriously upgraded.
"Amid this environment it saves us effort of focusing on higher competitiveness of the Northern Sea Route tracks without serious upgrade of sea ports’ infrastructure, provision of modern logistics, saturation of generating capacities, creation of modern communication and navigation systems, provision of navigation safety," Rogozin said.
It's a no-brainer for Russia to start preparing for this, but I'm curious to see when and how the Northern Sea Route will be made navigable during winter, not just because of the ice, but also because winters tend to be stormy in the Arctic (Iceland, for instance, experienced the strongest storm in 25 years a couple of days ago, hat-tip to Colorado Bob).