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Russian government plans to upgrade North’s river fleet within 15 years

ST. PETERSBURG, December 5. /TASS/. The Russian government plans to upgrade the river fleet, used for northern navigation, within 15 years. This will be done under the national Arctic strategy, Deputy Minister for the Development of the Far East and Arctic Alexander Krutikov told the forum dubbed Arctic: Today and the Future.

"Under the strategy, we shall pay special attention to rivers — a natural transport communication, without which life in the Arctic is impossible," he said on Thursday. "The project, which is underway at the Zhatay Shipyard [in Yakutia] for the construction of river vessels, is the first step here."

"We plan to upgrade the northern river fleet within 15 years," he added.

Development of the Northern Sea Route would be a "driver for upgrading other infrastructure in the Arctic zone," the official continued. "A decision on the construction of the Northern Latitudinal Railway (NLR) is in place, NLR-2 project is about to be ready, and other rail routes will be developed as well, since they improve economic efficiency of carriages in case of changing over to the Northern Sea Route."

The government will also focus on "telecommunication infrastructures" the deputy minister said. "At the first stage of the strategy implementation, we will solve the problem of access to the high-speed and affordable Internet in the Arctic zone."

"The intensive development of LNG projects will help us solve the problem of gas supplies at first to settlements on the Arctic shores and later on — to more remote settlements," he stated. "Within the strategy’s term, we shall solve the problem of the outdated diesel-fueled power generation by switching to LNG, renewable sources or local fuel."

The Northern Latitudinal Railway project

The Northern Latitudinal Railway (NLR), which will be 707 km long, will connect the Northern and Sverdlov railways to become an element in the Arctic transport system and infrastructure, which will serve further development of the Russian Arctic zone’s resource potential.

NLR-1 is a concession-based project.

NLR-2 project includes construction of a new 170km railway line between Bovanenkovo and Sabetta, which will offer direct access by both railways to the Arctic port Sabetta and to the Arctic Ocean.

The forum

Russia’s state polices in the Arctic to 2020 are regulated by a document, which the then President Dmitry Medvedev inked in 2008. On November 30, 2019, the Ministry for the Development of the Far East and Arctic reported it had finalized a draft of the Arctic zone’s development strategy to 2035.

The Arctic: Today and the Future forum is underway in St. Petersburg through December 7. The event features about 2,500 delegates from Russia and 20 countries.