I keep reminding that no one ever got rich by making someone else poor. If the US had focused on developing massive projects of the magnitude of those developed by China and Russia, it could have made substantial contributions to its own economy and paid off a significant portion of its staggering debt. Instead it fritters away time and energy trying, in vain, to throw a spanner in the works of these two countries’ projects. If the US public had an inkling of the true big picture, they’d throw out the lot of their politicians, but instead, they practically worship many of them. They will pay the price for their naiveté.
I have not seen any commentary with this kind of focus anywhere in the West.
The ships have arrived: The West is trying to block the Northern Sea Route
5 Sept 2019
MOSCOW, Sep 5 - RIA Novosti, Alexander Lesnykh. In mid-August, one of the world's largest container carriers, the French company CMA CGM announced the abandonment of the Northern Sea Route. A little later, Norwegian Prime Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide expressed concern about the environmental and economic aspects of this route and said an audit will be confucted. Is the West capable of blocking Russia’s strategic project? RIA Novosti reports.
Quiet and smooth
The large-capacity tanker Prospect Koroleva, owned by the Russian Sovcomflot, set sail from Murmansk on August 26 and delivered a cargo of crude oil to China in just a week.
“We were sailing at a speed of almost 13 knots, when I stood on the bridge and caught myself thinking: if you don’t look through the porthole, you can’t say that the ship is moving - there is no vibration, no noise, no exhaust from the pipe. There’s a clear sea behind us, a clear sky above us - and silence," shares the impressions of the captain of the voyage, ice adviser Vasily Ermakov.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a joint visit to the Zvezda shipbuilding complex in the city of Bolshoy Kamen.
There is nothing unusual in the transit of oil along the Northern Sea Route – it’s happened before. But before this voyage, not a single vessel had travelled the entire route exclusively on ecologically clean gas fuel.
The sailors of Sovcomflot have proven that the future of global commodity transport lies in the Arctic transport artery in Russian waters. According to Oleg Shishkin, the captain of Prospect Korolev, the passage through the NSR is almost a month shorter than the traditional route through the Suez Canal. And LNG reduces daily fuel consumption by 20% and carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by almost a third.
The development of the NSR as a transport artery connecting Europe and Southeast Asia is one of the country's most important infrastructure tasks. The fact that in the coming years interest in the route will only increase is shown by the statistics of cargo shipments. At the end of August, the head of the directorate of the Northern Sea Route of the Rosatom state corporation Vyacheslav Ruksha announced that this year the cargo flow of the Northern Sea Route will grow by 45% - from 20 to 29 million tons.
According to the May decree of Vladimir Putin, cargo shipments through the NSR by 2024 should reach 50 million tons per year. Ruksha notes that everything necessary for this is being done:
Under construction are the Arctic LNG - 2 liquefied natural gas complex, owned by Novatek (about 18 million tons of fuel per year), the VostokUgol cargo base in Taimyr, capable of shipping 20 million tons coal annually, and the oil companies of the Payakhskoye field, which will ensure the export of more than five million tons of oil.
Like any other Russian project aimed at developing international trade, the Northern Sea Route has its share of opponents abroad. In mid-August, according to Figaro, one of the world's largest container carriers, the French concern CMA CGM, has abandoned the Arctic routes, primarily the Northern Sea Route. Representatives of the company cited "concern for the environment," which greatly surprised the expert community.
"The logic is strange - if the ship goes the short way, it means less fuel is burned," explains Alexei Bezborodov, director general of the Infranews research agency, to RIA Novosti, recalling that CMA CGM will transfer all of its ships to environmentally friendly LNG in the coming years.
However, the French actions will not affect the cargo flow through the Northern Sea Route - after all, no one was counting on this company. And once the NSR becomes as familiar a route as that through the Suez Canal, the CMA CGM will still have to launch freight transport on Arctic waters - otherwise competitors will pass them by. For example, Danish Maersk, whose head back in June said that the company was exploring the possibilities of seasonal service on the Northern Sea Route.
Norway is against the NSR. A week ago, Prime Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide said that official Oslo is concerned about the environmental and economic aspects of the NSR, adding that it needs to check the route for compliance with European standards.
In response, Vladimir Isupov, senior adviser to the Russian Embassy in Oslo, indicated that the infrastructure project is being developed exclusively in Russian territorial waters and Norway is only an outside observer.
The root of the problem
Many experts believe that the European assaults on the NSR are the result of Washington’s pressure. The fact is that the cheap and fast delivery of Russian liquefied natural gas via the Northern Sea Route to the countries of Southeast Asia puts an end to the Americans' desire to gain a foothold in this promising market. [Selling LNG to Asia, particularly China, was a pet dream of Donald Trump, who was generally focused on boosting the US economy with shale oil – now seen as a losing bet by most investors]
The fears of Washington strategists are more than justified: according to the International LNG Importers Group (GIIGNL), last year Russia shipped almost 13 million tons of LNG to the region, while the United States sent only 10.7 million.
For Washington, the situation is aggravated by the fact that Russia will provide liquefied gas not only to China, with whom Trump has quarrelled helplessly, but also to Japan, a key American partner in the region. Hiroshige Sako, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, recognized the reality of this prospect ahead of the Eastern Economic Forum.
"A round table is planned within the framework of the forum at which representatives of business in Japan and Russia will discuss the development of the economy of the Far East, including routes along the Arctic Ocean, which is closely connected with the Arctic LNG-2 project," the Japanese official noted.
To ensure the growth of cargo flow along the Northern Sea Route, Russia is actively developing an atomic icebreaker fleet, which has no analogues in the world. Not later than May of next year, the Baltic Shipyard will launch the lead nuclear icebreaker of project 22220 Arctic. Two more such ships will be commissioned in 2021-2022.
In the long term – by 2030 – Rosatom plans to organize year-round navigation along the NSR. The government intends to allocate almost 130 billion rubles for the construction of the unique atomic icebreaker Leader with a capacity of 120 megawatts (for comparison, the capacity of the Arctic power plant is half that).
And last Wednesday, the Zvezda shipbuilding complex and the Korean company Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd, as part of the V Eastern Economic Forum, announced the establishment of a joint venture to manage the construction processes on the Zvezda tankers for the Yamal-LNG project.
Vyacheslav Ruksha from Rosatom is sure that in a few years, cargo ships along the Northern Sea Route will be "running like trams."
The dog barks and the caravan goes