In the wake of an announcement by British polar explorer Pen Hadow, leader of the Catlin Arctic Survey, that the Arctic will be ice-free within ten years, Russia announced that it will charge ships a “fair” fee to cross the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Northern Sea Route, the majority of which is Russian waters. Alexasandr Davydenko, head of the Federal Sea and River Transport Agency, actually said, “We are hoping the ice will melt soon.” However, the country still lacks the infrastructure necessary to handle the predicted increase in shipping that will arrive in the coming years, particularly in the port of Murmansk, which would likely serve as a hub.
Russia Today has a news clip on the story.
Furthermore, the shipping company Sovcomflot will begin shipping oil through the Northern Sea Route next year. It is rumored that Gazprom will also follow suit.
The following is an image taken from the Russian government’s official website on the Northern Sea Route, known as “Sevmorput” in Russian. The labels are for the various seas and straits that the NSR crosses.