Development prospects and importance of the Northern Sea Route

The Northern Sea Route is an important maritime transport route. A significant complex of scientific problems currently consists of economic and legal aspects of its functioning. Russia has sovereign rights to the Northern Sea Route in terms of possession of the Arctic waters, as well as adjacent territories. This provision is justified by the rights of the discoverer of the Arctic lands and the transcontinental Arctic transport route, the recognized borders of the polar possessions of Russia, the centuries-old prohibition of the economic use of these waters without its consent and the technical possibility of operating the Northern Sea Route. Over the past quarter of a century, freight traffic by this route has grown more than twenty times. It is an alternative to the existing transport route from the states of the Far East to Europe through the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal. In particular, the use of this route during the six-month navigation provided by the icebreaker fleet of Russia reduces travel time by two weeks and costs by 20%. As a result, the increased congestion of the existing route and the economic benefits of using the Northern Sea Route are objective grounds for it to become its alternative. At the same time, it should be noted that Russia’s interest in sovereign rights to use the Northern Sea Route is both the most important basis for its development and the reason for limiting its use. The sovereignty of rights means the denial of the principle of freedom of navigation. In turn, the transport route through the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal is not in the sovereign possession of a particular country. The Suez Canal belonging to Egypt, on the basis of the so-called Constantinople Convention of 1888, should not be blocked under any circumstances. Russia does not provide such guarantees. At the same time, the international use of the Northern Sea Route is steadily increasing.


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  • Accession Number: 01853557
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 29 2022 4:57PM