In 2016, it had been 7.3 mln tonnes, which in turn presented an increase of 35% compared to 2015. Recent estimates have said that the amount of cargo may reach 40 mln tonnes by 2022, due to new facilities on LNG production and development of oil and gas fields, and 70-80 mln tonnes by 2030.
Namely, of the significant events of 2017, the Agency noted the launch at the end of the year of the Yamal LNG plant, built on the Yamal shore of the Ob Bay. From the port of Sabetta in December 2017, shipments of LNG to tankers-gas carriers of Sovcomflot began. Before that, for several years the cargo for the construction of this plant and the port of Sabetta were transported through the water area of the Northern Sea Route.
Responding to the latest figures, Dr Sian Prior, lead advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, said:
“The reduced sea ice extent is already attracting more shipping into Arctic waters, in a search for shorter routes and cost savings, a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future. Not only is traffic expanding along the Arctic’s northern sea route, but also along the north-west passage to the north of Canada and the US, and even across the central Arctic Ocean."
However, as currently the majority of fuel used to transport goods in the Arctic is HFO, which has negative impacts due to emissions of black carbon and spill risks, the Clean Arctic Alliance has called for a ban on the use and carriage of HFO in the Arctic.
"This growth in traffic brings an increased risk of oil spills, and greater emissions of black carbon, which exacerbates the melting of sea ice. With the next meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee coming up in April, we’re calling on member states to back a ban on the use of heavy fuel oil - the dirtiest from shipping fuels - from vessels operating in Arctic waters,” concluded Dr. Prior.