LOW TRAFFIC ON THE NORTHERN SEA ROUTE IN 2016

According to the data provided by the Northern Sea Route Information Office, traffic volume in 2016 has increased by 35% in comparison with 2015. However the traffic remained low with only 19 vessels using the route, far from the record set in 2013 with 71 vessels. Steep downturn started in 2014, the amount of cargo transported in transit dropping 77 per cent compared to the previous year. The Barents Observer noted at that time that the advantage of connecting Atlantic with Pacific with a 24% distance reduction is offset by many factors including harsher weather and free-floating sea ice, requiring more expensive ship construction, and winterization investments. Remoteness, lack of broadband communications and limited search and rescue capabilities increase the risk of Arctic operations. Shallow waters limit vessel size, and ice movements lead to unpredictability of the ships’ arrival time. (Source and image: NSR Information Office) – (Download: NSR 2016 / Vessels in Transit)