By the end of this year, the volumes are expected to rise to 29 million tonnes, the Northern Sea Route Administration's acting head Nikolay Monko said at the RAO/CIS Offshore conference in St. Petersburg.
The majority of the Northern Sea Route's (NSR) ship traffic is related to the liquified natural gas produced by Novatek. The company's Yamal LNG is likely to produce 16 million tonnes in 2019, reported Hellenic Shipping News.
In spite of the major increase in Arctic shipping, transit shipments between east and west on the Northern Sea Route remain low. From January to September, a total of 441,800 tonnes was shipped on the route, with Cosco accounting for the main share of transit shipments as has been the case in previous years.
The Northern Sea Route stretches from the Novaya Zemlya in the west to the Bering Strait in the east.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's so-called May Decrees includes a goal for shipment volumes on the Northern Sea Route to reach 80 million tonnes in 2024. Russia's ministries and state agencies are confident that Mr Putin's 80-million-tonne target will be achieved. The most ambitious figure is presented by the Ministry of the Far East and Arctic, which believes volumes will reach 95 million tonnes in 2024.
Rosatom, the nuclear power company that has been given the key responsibility for developing the Arctic shipping route, believes shipments in 2024 will amount to 92.6 million tonnes. The figures were presented in the Russian Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg in April this year.
However, the number of ships operating on the Northern Sea Route remains low. According to the Northern Sea Route Administration, a total of 743 vessels had by October 1 requested sailing permission on the NSR. In 2018 a total of 808 ships applied for permission, and in the previous five years, the number ranged between 660-730.
Furthermore, only a limited part of the ships now sailing on the route actually carry goods. The official NSR list of vessels shows that half are tugs and support and service vessels, the majority of which are involved in oil and gas-related activities.