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Russia To Complete First New Sea Port in Decades

July 4, 2022 (EIRNS)—Western sanctions against Russia are indeed backfiring, as key transportation infrastructure projects Russia had been procrastinating on launching are being given top priority. In May President Vladimir Putin directed that Russia transportation should be reoriented from the direction of Europe, to the East and South. Crucial to this directive is the completion of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that connects St. Petersburg, on the Baltic, to the Caspian Sea, on to Iran and from there to the Indian Ocean port of Mumbai, India. The corridor will serve to integrate all of Central Asia, giving sea access to the landlocked region. The INSTC was central in the discussions at the June 29 Sixth Caspian Summit where the leaders of host Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Russia met in Ashgabat.

While St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad have come under the threat from the West’s sanctions and other anti-Russian policies, Russia has decided to anchor the northern part of the ISNTC, not at St. Petersburg, but at a new Arctic port on the Kola Peninsula, in Murmansk. On June 20 President Putin met with Murmansk Region Governor Andrey Chibis, and made it clear that in 2023 Russia will solve the problem of the import and export of goods through the opening of the country’s largest commercial port in Murmansk, the first in decades.

The new port is at Lavna on the western shore of the Kola Bay, and because of its great depth is a non-freezing port. The project had already been initiated several years ago to transport coal to Germany, but in 2020, Germany drastically cut back on coal imports because of its insane anti-CO2 policy, throwing the project into question. Nonetheless the coal terminal with an annual capacity of 18 million tons and 46 km of railway infrastructure is to be completed by 2023. Other facilities for other mineral exports as well as general cargo are also planned. The private investment into the project is to exceed 60 billion rubles ($800.1 million).

Commenting on the importance of the new port, Boris Komotsky, a member of the State Duma Committee on the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, told URA.RU, reported Yekaterinburg-based news agency Oops Top: “We see the example of Kaliningrad, when the Lithuanians took quasi-military actions. Care must be taken to provide logistics that do not fall under anyone’s restrictions. The Northern Sea Route is an important strategic and economic prospect for the country: sea transportation remains the cheapest, and here we will be able to pass through our own territory. This will strengthen the sovereignty of Russia: if you do not look back, whether or not you will be allowed to transfer your goods, this is sovereignty.”

Mikhail Blinkin, director of the Institute for Transport Economics and Transport Policy at the Higher School of Economics told URA.RU

“In fact, the exit to the big world will go along the Northern Sea Route. The Murmansk region is key on this path. To the right—there will be a road to Asia; to the left—to Europe. Murmansk will become the sea gates of Russia. In ‘peaceful’ times, this was only actively discussed, but in the current force majeure conditions, there is no time for talking. For the country, this is no longer a luxury, but a necessity,”

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