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2020 Future Scenario for the Northern Sea Route and Adjacent Areas

(from AMSA Report 2009)



1] The marine transportation of oil from the Pechora Sea to Europe is considered to be both technically and economically feasible. Today cargo flow is more than 1.5 million tons per year. With future increases in cargo, the charge for every passing ship along the NSR will be decreased accordingly.

2] Russian rules and requirements are mostly consistent with international law and requirements (for example, UNCLOS and IMO Conventions). However, taking into account Russia’s experience with navigation in the Arctic, it has adopted rules pertaining to vessels operating in the NSR that contain certain provisions that go beyond international rules and standards (for example, inspections, requirements for ice pilots and transit fees).

3] The estimated volumes of maritime traffic on the NSR are expected to be about 40 million tons of oil and gas per year by 2020, which may contribute to improved economic effectiveness of cargo transportation via the NSR.

4] New Arctic marine technologies can help solve some of the problems related to transportation economics. With proper technologies, marine transportation costs in the region will be lower than those of pipeline transportation of oil and gas.

5] The probability for major accidents is considered to be low even with the increased traffic volumes; however, the consequences of a major accident would be serious due to the sensitivity of the fragile Arctic environment, remoteness of the area, harsh environmental conditions and difficulties in conducting oil spill cleanup operations.

6] There are several, key infrastructure challenges for the region: the ice information services require support; adequate hydrographic services may become an issue and lack of adequate search and rescue capabilities along the NSR. Regional SAR agreements between Norway and Russia, and the U.S. and Russia, have improved response and coordination in the Barents Sea and Bering Sea accordingly.


  •  1. Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Report 2009

Arctic Council, 2009, Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA), Arctic Council.©