The NSR runs close to the Arctic Circle from the Russian Far East to the Baltic Sea and is typically open from July to November. Russia is promoting the lane as the shortest distance to ship containers from Asia to Europe, and a possible rival for routes that now take ships through the Suez Canal. Cargo volumes along the route grew substantially last year as tankers with ice-breaking capability and liquefied natural gas carriers began to move through the region to Western markets. Sovcomflot tankers crossed the NSR more than 100 times last year, handling crude exports from Gazprom ’s Novy Port oil facility in northern Russia. Crude tankers account for about 45% of ship traffic on the NSR. Other sailings originated at Russia’s massive Yamal LNG project, with ice-class, purpose-built tankers moving natural gas from the Port of Sabetta to Europe. Sovcomflot CEO Sergey Frank. […]