Russian Policies for Development of the Northern Sea Route: An Assessment of Recent Developments and Implications for International Users

In Lawson W. Brigham, Robert W. Corell, Jong Deog Kim, Yoon Hyung Kim, Arild Moe, Charles E. Morrison, David L. VanderZwaag and Oran R. Young (eds), The Arctic in World Affairs: Will Great Power Politics Threaten Arctic Sustainability? Korean Maritime, Institute, 2020, pp. 199-208.

Russia’s goal is now to establish year-round navigation on the NSR, to facilitate exports of hydrocarbons and other minerals from Russia’s Arctic to Asian markets. This requires a substantial increase in the number of icebreakers as well as investments in other infrastructure. The article considers the economics of the icebreaker construction program and argues that the state will have to bear most of the costs, even if the more expansive predictions of freight volumes are met. The possibility of year-round traffic is one, but only one, precondition for increased international transits on the route At the same time the perception of new protectionist legislation and changes in the administration of the sea route can make investments in use of the sea route for transit less attractive for foreign shipping companies.



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