ST. PETERSBURG, December 7. /TASS/. Russia has all the possibilities to make the Northern Sea Route operational round the year and in any season, Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin said on Monday.
"I believe Russia has big prospects and large advantages precisely through the Northern Sea Route," Rogozin said at a plenary session of the international forum on the Arctic.
"It is important that our structures and bodies responsible for the Northern Sea Route and the administration of the Northern Sea Route should be generators of ideas rather than the bodies stating facts and they should elaborate proposals on creating those technologies that will help make the Northern Sea Route operational round the year and in any season," the vice-premier said.
"We have all technological possibilities for this," Rogozin said.
The ambitious tasks of developing the Northern Sea Route are a priority for Russia along with the task of ensuring mobility and transport accessibility, the Russian vice-premier said.
The Northern Sea Route development model will integrate all kinds of transport communication, including the air, river and railway carriages, he added.
In his state-of-the-nation address to both houses of Russia’s parliament, President Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of the competitiveness of the Northern Sea Route, which should become a link between Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region, the vice-premier said.
"This is twice as shorter, more accessible and safer route. There are no Somali pirates in the Arctic," Rogozin said.
Russia also needs to create its icebreaker fleet, which will open big prospects for leading vessels along the Northern Sea Route, the vice-premier said.
Rogozin noted that Russia has invited China to take part in delivery of cargos to the Northern Sea Route.
"Our Chinese partners got interested in it. We do not rule out that there may be interests related to the economic development of the Silk Road. We proposed them to participate in such projects of building railways to transport cargos to the ports of the NSR. In fact, we can say now that this is not just the economic Silk Road but the cool (Arctic -TASS) Silk Road," - Rogozin said.
According to the official, raising competitiveness of the Northern Sea Route is only possible if port infrastructure is seriously upgraded.
"Amid this environment it saves us effort of focusing on higher competitiveness of the Northern Sea Route tracks without serious upgrade of sea ports’ infrastructure, provision of modern logistics, saturation of generating capacities, creation of modern communication and navigation systems, provision of navigation safety," Rogozin said.
According to the Deputy PM, out of 67 Russian operating sea ports 18 are located in the Arctic zone. As of July 1, 2014 222 ships were allowed to navigate in the Northern Sea Route water area, with 78 of them being foreign vessels. As of July 1, 2015 368 ships (of them 54 being foreign vessels) were allowed to do so.
However, for business enterprises exploring potential of maritime polar routes, issues of navigation safety, preservation of environmental ecology and timely provision of assistance to vessels in distress are of prior importance, Rogozin said as he called for focusing on real investment projects based on public-private partnership.
The Northern Sea Route is the shortest route connecting Europe with the Far East, with the Asia-Pacific and the western part of North America.
In summer Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the integrated development plan of the Northern Sea Route.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, over 600 permits are annually issued at present for transportation of goods over the Northern Sea Route and the yearly goods transportation volume equals 4 mln tonnes.
"The potential estimated for the period of [the nearest] 15 years, and this is the implementation timeframe of the integrated plan, is over 80 mln tonnes. In other words, a twentyfold increase is possible," Dvorkovich said.