Cranes on the Ob River. Photo: Atle Staalesen

Rosatom eyes shipments of grain on Northern Sea Route

Up to 1 million tons could be shipped annually to the seaport of Sabetta and from there exported to Southeast Asian countries, the state company believes.
December 30, 2019

Representative of Rosatom Maksim Kulinko says to news agency PortNews that there are plans for exports of grain through the Northern Sea Route. The grain that will be produced in the south Siberian regions of Omsk and Kurgan will be shipped northwards on the rivers of Irtysh and Ob to the seaport of Sabetta in Yamal.

From Sabetta, the grain will be shipped across the Arctic sea route to the Asian markets.

According to Kulinko, a test operation with 300,000 tons is due to be made in 2020.

«This is a pilot project with a very good economy,» the company representative says.

Rosatom has since early 2019 had the main responsibility for development of shipments and infrastructure along the Northern Sea Route.

According to the company, a trans-shipment facility will have to be built in Sabetta and there is a need for up to 90 new barges that can be used for the river transportation.

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Ultimately, up to 1 million tons of grain can be transported on the route, Rosatom argues.

Russia has over the last years been the world’s biggest grain exporter. In 2018, its exports amounted to about 42 million tons.

The region of Omsk has great hopes for the new export route and regional Governor Aleksandr Burkov has previously described it as a new opening of a «window to Asia».

It is not the first time that shipments are made on the Irtysh to Sabetta and from there further to Asian buyers. In 2016, two 600 ton heavy chemical reactors were sent from South Korea to Sabetta and from there up on the Irtysh to the Pavlodar oil refinery in Kazakhstan.

In summer of 2017, several more shipments were made on the same route.

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