USD 88.4375


EUR 96.2383


Brent 84.19


Natural gas 2.832



Northern Sea Route (NSR)

Its a shipping lane between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans along the Russian coast of Siberia and the Far East.

Northern Sea Route (NSR)

The Northern Sea Route (NSR) is the Russian name for what is often known outside Russia as the Northeast Passage (NEP).
The route can offer for shipping between Northwest Europe and Northeast Asia/Northwest America.
Its a shipping lane between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans along the Russian coast of Siberia and the Far East, crossing 5 Arctic Seas: the Barents, the Kara, the Laptev, the East Siberian and the Chukchi Sea.

Тне Northern Sea Route, in accordance with the Federal Law《On Internal Sea Waters, the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone of the Russian Federation》(1998), is defined as 《the historically established national unified transport communication of the Russian Federation in the Arctic》.
Navigation along the NSR routes, including in the straits of Vilkitsky, Shokalsky, Dmitry Laptev, Sannikov, is carried out in accordance with this Federal Law, other Federal Laws, international treaties of the Russian Federation and the rules for sailing along the NSR routes approved by the Government of the Russian Federation and published in Notices to Mariners.

The Northern Sea Route is bounded by the western entrances to the New Zemlya straits and by the meridian running north from Cape Zhelaniya, and in the east in the Bering Strait by the parallel of 66 ° N and the meridian of 168 ° 58′37 ″ W.
The length of the Northern Sea Route from the Kara Gates to Provideniya Bay is about 5600 km.

For some destinations, distance savings can be as high as 50% compared to the shipping lanes presently used.
Its is also a very convenient export corridor for Russian natural resources.

Enormous reserves of various metals, crude oil, natural gas, timber and coal are located close to the shoresof the Russian Arctic Ocean or along the rivers that flow into it.

Ice problem

The East Siberian Sea is the most ice-covered sea.
The Aion ice massif is located in the east of the sea (after the name of the Aion island, not far from Pevek).

In winter, southerly winds carry ice from the northern edge of the fast ice, which is why a stationary ice hole appears from June-July to October-November, but ice is always present from the strip of the New Siberian Islands to the north.

The Aion ice massif is the most difficult part of the Northern Sea Route.
Here, during the summer navigation period, winds blow steadily from the Arctic Ocean, which bring perennial ice from the ocean to the shore.

The 《polynya》 from Pevek to the New Siberian Islands is relatively narrow at first and gradually widens.
Therefore, even during summer navigation, it is rather difficult to talk about big water in all parts of the NSR.
Modern icebreaking support allows, if necessary, to organize year-round navigation.

Icebreaker fleet

Rosatom, the state nuclear corporation, was selected by the Russian government to operate the NSR.
The company plays a key role in development of the Arctic, which depends heavily on Rosatom’s icebreaker fleet.

In 2019, Russia published a most comprehensive plan for infrastructure development of the NSR for the period 2020-2035. Russia plans to increase traffic along the NSR by 90 mln tons by 2030.

The plan covers 11 topics for development along the NSR
  • Port infrastructure and terminals
  • Search and Rescue (SAR)
  • Navigational and hydrographic support
  • Development of Ice-breaking capabilities
  • Stimulation of cargo traffic and international transit shipment increase
  • Avia and railway network development
  • Safety and communications network development
  • Electricity generating capacity to support infrastructure
  • Training and skills development
  • Domestic shipbuilding for the Arctic shipping
  • Ecological safety
Russian government foresees:
  • building at least 40 new Arctic vessels, including nuclear icebreakers;
  • upgrading 4 polar region airports;
  • constructing far northern railways and seaports,
  • initiating a massive exploitation of natural resources from the Arctic’s thawing shores – particularly natural gas, oil and coal.
Northern Sea Route requires $11.7 billion in investments, with the state budget to provide a third and the rest to come from companies and banks.

Inside Russia, the main focus with regard to the NSR is its economic significance for the Arctic regions from Murmansk in the west to Chukotka in the east.
The NSR has been animportant corridor for carrying-in supplies to the Russian Arctic regions, and for carrying-outparts of their vast natural resources, thus contributing to the economic growth both of the Arctic regions and of Russia as a whole.

Great-circle navigation across the North Pole is not currently possible for standard cargo vessels without icebreaker assistance and will not be possible in the future, which is to say until the year 2050.
NSR is and until the year 2050 will remain a seasonal maritime shipping lane which is difficult to navigate, can only be used within a limited time period and involves a serious risk for vessels with low ice classes or with no ice class.

NOVATEK is already using the route to ship LNG to Europe and Asia, saving on costs and making its LNG competitive on the global market.

Shipping on the NSR has grown extensively over several years.
In 2017, a total of 10,7 million tons per year (tpy) were transported on the route.
In 2018, the volume increased to 20,18 million tpy and in 2019 to 31,5 million tpy.