Moscow and New Delhi are discussing the possibility of launching a trans-Arctic container shipping line and processing facilities along the Northern Sea Route (NSR), according to the Russian minister for the development of the Far East and Arctic.
Aleksey Chekunkov’s announcement was made during his working visit to India on Tuesday, where he met with the country’s Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal.
“The ministers discussed an alternative route to transport cargos from India to Europe – not by the southern or western routes, but by the eastern route and the NSR, using both Russian and Indian port facilities… The cost to ship a container from Vladivostok to India is 30% lower than from Moscow,” the Russian ministry announced.
The statement also pointed to fleet expansion as a promising area for cooperation.
India has reportedly expressed interest in building a satellite city near Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East, including ports, roads and energy infrastructure.
Chekunkov revealed that the next round of talks will be held in Moscow in April.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier stated that New Delhi was planning to assist in developing the NSR and turning it into a global trade route.
The Northern Sea Route, which stretches the entire length of Russia’s Arctic and Far East regions, is expected to become a major trade path for goods shipped between Europe and Asia.
According to President Vladimir Putin, the route is “the key to the development of the Russian Arctic regions of the Far East,” and the goal is to make it a “truly global, competitive transport artery.”
The Arctic route, linking Southeast Asia to Europe, can drastically reduce transportation times, compared to traditional routes through the Suez or Panama canals. In the Soviet era, it was used mainly to supply goods to isolated settlements in the Arctic.