India, Russia plan to leverage the Northern Sea route further for better shipping efficiency

Russia’s Minister for the Development of the Far East and Artic, Alexei Chekunkov, is on a visit to India, and his agenda includes discussions with Indian officials around reliable and safe transportation of goods through the Northern Sea route using Indian and Russian ports. The expansion of the route is being contemplated by both the countries, including building of processing facilities. The Northern Sea shipping route passes through the Arctic Ocean. 

Reportedly, the expansion will result in better efficiency for the shipping sector, especially the cost side of it. Chekunkov said that the cost of delivering a container from Vladivostok to India is a third lower than the cost of shipping a container from Moscow.

The Northern Sea Route runs along Russia’s northern coastline and is the shortest shipping route between East Asia and Europe. Russia has invested heavily in the infrastructure along the route in order to convert it into a major shipping route. Though it is not used in winters due to thick ice, Moscow plans to begin year-round shipping by the end of the year, spurred by the warming of the Arctic. 

Meanwhile, India has emerged as the largest buyer of Russian oil after China, last year. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday that Russian oil supplies to India jumped 22-fold last year. Russia needed to focus on boosting energy exports to so-called ‘friendly’ countries, he said.

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