Cargo transport leaving the port of Murmansk. Photo: Bjørn Frantzen, Bioforsk Svanhovd
Increased activity in the Russian Arctic push forward the need for better cooperation between Russian and Norwegian ports to meet the growth in cargo traffic, is the conclusion in a new report on marine traffic in the north.
The amount of cargo transport of raw materials through the Barents Sea is already at a significant level. Russia’s increased activity in the Arctic, the growth of commercial traffic through the northern sea route and more offshore petroleum activity in Russia are all important factors to the expected growth in traffic from Northwest Russia through the Barents Sea. Murmansk is probably the port which has had most of the growth, with a doubling of the cargo flow since 2003.
Potential The report “Development of marine Russian-Norwegian trade facilities in Northern Norway” has studied the development potential for the main ports of northern Norway. The report is written by Norwegian Akvaplan Niva and the St. Petersburg company Gecon, with support from the Norwegian Barents Secretariat and Maritime Forum.
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The growth in international cargo transport to and from Russia through the Barents Sea has become a big challenge for Russian ports. At the same time there are well developed ports in Northern Norway, with access to a good transport infrastructure, there are available areas and a good capacity to handle the increased amount of cargo.
“With a better cooperation between ports, the producers of the raw materials and freighters there should be a good fundament for a better cooperation and better geographical distribution of the traffic”, says Rune Rautio of Akvaplan Niva who is one of the writers of the report.
EU strategies The report concludes that the ports in both Norway and Russia could be developed into dynamic transport hubs for storage, transfer, selling and redistributing of raw materials and other cargo for the international market.
The report also focuses on EU strategy on marine traffic in the Arctic. Key issues are the focus within EU, Norway and Russia, and on the regional level in Norway and Northwest Russia.
“There should be done a more extensive study on this topic to develop a better cooperation between Russian and Norwegian ports in the north and relevant actors in the international raw material and transport market”, says Rautio.