Northern Sea Route. Prospect of development.
Global warming is causing the melting of ice in the Arctic ocean, and areas previously difficult to navigate, are gradually opening up for shipping. The development of transport corridors in the Northern latitudes is of growing interest to the non – Arctic States, mainly China, for which the Arctic is not only a source of various resources, but also an opportunity to diversify trade routes for their goods. Every decade, the amount of ice in the Arctic is significantly reducing. Although different forecasts differ in detail, they agree that by 2050-2060 the Central part of the Arctic ocean may become accessible for navigation even without icebreaking support.
Navigation window, which today is about 70 days, by 2050 will increase to 125 days, and by the end of the XXI century can be up to 6 months. Such a significant simplification of the Arctic navigation conditions will lead to the development of a network of routes in the Arctic ocean. If the Northern sea route (NSR) is currently the most actively used and partly the North-Western passage (NFP), while maintaining the existing rates of ice melting and warming in a few decades, the Transpolar path and exits from it and the NSR directly to Canadian and American ports through the Arctic bridge are seen as promising routes
Despite of the natural difficulties, not only Russia, but also many countries of the world are interested in expanding the use of the NSR and turning it into an international transport corridor in the future. Non-Arctic countries are also showing increasing interest in the development of Arctic territories and transport routes in the North. There are several reasons for this. First, the territories along the NSR have a high potential for cargo generation, mainly due to significant oil, natural gas and other mineral deposits.
Secondly, if we take into account the development of logistics links between the world's largest markets in Europe and Asia, the Northern routes are much shorter than the traditional southern ones. Combination of these advantages makes the use of the NSR extremely attractive and potentially cost-effective for the extraction and trade of natural resources, and for the organization of international cargo transit.
Not without reason China, the world's largest exporter and importer, is one of the most active and investing foreign countries in the Arctic. Most Chinese and international experts note that the use of the NSR can reduce China's dependence on the southern routes through the Suez canal, no alternative so far.