The Northern sea route:
What is the Northern Sea Route and why is it important to development in Russia's Arctic region?
Ten million tons of goods reached global markets via the Northern Sea Route in 2018. Fifty years ago, it was impassable.
Russia is currently encouraging the use and development of an existing, though previously uneconomical, shipping route through the Arctic: the Northern Sea Route (NSR). The NSR connects ports in Eastern Russia, Japan, and Alaska with Western Europe and the Atlantic Ocean’s trade routes. The NSR has the potential to cut shipping times by a factor of more than ten days as compared to alternatives through the Suez Canal and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Currently, sea ice prevents the use of the NSR year-round, limiting its use to three or four months of the year, but rapidly melting ice is expected to lengthen the NSR’s shipping season in the future, thus making it a major shipping route.