The Kremlin is calling for faster action to allow foreign ships to use the North Sea Route Ship’s crew


MOSCOW, June 15 (Reuters) – A Kremlin adviser on Thursday urged the Russian government to pass a law allowing foreign-flagged ships to use the Northern Sea Route (NSR), which Moscow wants to convert into a new Suez Canal .

The NSR runs east from Murmansk near Russia’s border with Norway to the Bering Strait near Alaska.

Although the route is physically demanding, it could cut sea transport times between Europe and Asia at a time when Russia’s trade with Western countries is at its lowest point since the Cold War following Moscow’s decision to send troops to Ukraine .

“We no longer have transit routes. “The North Sea Route poses a new challenge for international logistics,” said Igor Levitin, a former Russian transport minister and current adviser to President Vladimir Putin, at a business forum.

By 2024, according to the government’s plans, with the implementation of projects for the liquefaction of natural gas, gas condensate, oil, coal, precious metals and other goods by Russian companies, a total of around 80 million tons of cargo per year could be shipped between Europe and Europe via the NSR Asia.

Russia is working on legislation to regulate the use of the route by foreign merchant and military ships.

“We haven’t set any rules for international transit (yet)… Rules for the passage of foreign ships should be adopted quickly,” Levitin said.

While significantly shorter than the Suez Canal, the NSR presents a challenge and requires the support of icebreakers to allow ships to transit along the north coast of Russia.

At the end of winter in March, sea ice covers the largest area around the North Pole and thaws to an annual minimum in September. The ice has shrunk in recent decades, a trend scientists link to human-caused climate change.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldierkin, editing by Gareth Jones)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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