Cargo Traffic Along Northern Sea Route Above Target in 2023



Overall cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) totalled 36.254 million metric tonnes. Thus, it exceeded the target by more than 250,000 tonnes.

Besides, in 2023, transit shipments along the Northern Sea Route totalled 2.13 million tonnes.

In 2023, the geography of transit traffic changed due to the redirection of Russian oil to China, shipments to which accounted for 93% of all transit voyages along the Northern Sea Route. Shipments from China and South Korea to Russia each accounted for 2% of all cargo traffic.

Crude oil accounted for more than 70% of transit traffic, while iron ore, coal and liquefied natural gas each accounted for 10%. Transit traffic reached its peak in September 2023 - a third of all traffic was carried out in this month.

Transit traffic is a sign of demand for the Northern Sea Route, so its growth is important in terms of the maritime logistics business. Next year, transit traffic along the NSR is expected to increase to 5.5 million tonnes.

Overall, 1,218 permits for navigation in the Northern Sea Route area were issued in 2023 (1,163 in 2022), including 115 foreign companies (55 in 2022). 80 transit voyages were made along the Northern Sea Route, compared to 47 in 2022.

The Northern Sea Route is a shipping route and the main sea line in the Russian Arctic sector. It stretches along the northern coasts of Russia across the seas of the Arctic Ocean. The route consolidates the European and Far Eastern ports of Russia and navigable river mouths in Siberia into a single transport system. The route’s length is 5,600 km from the Kara Strait to Providence Bay.

The distance from the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands to the port of Yokohama in Japan (which is a southern channel via the Suez Canal) is 11,205 nautical miles, or 7345 nautical miles when using the NSR. Besides, the NSR shortens the distance from Rotterdam to Shanghai by 2,449 nautical miles.