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India, Russia explore new maritime corridors to unlock trade potential

Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal met with A.O. Chekunkov, the Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic in Vladivostok, Russia on Thursday.

Both the leaders discussed possibility of usage of new transport corridors like the Northern Sea Route (NSR) as well as the Eastern Maritime Corridor (EMC) between Vladivostok and Chennai. Both the nations also agreed on training for seafarers in polar and Arctic waters at Russian Maritime Training Institute in Vladivostok.
Highlighting the role of other alternative routes for exploring trade and commerce opportunities between India and Russia, Sonowal said, “India is keen to collaborate a partnership regarding the development of the Northern Sea route, recognising the potential it holds for enhanced connectivity and trade.”

“We agree with your conclusions that the potential cargo base of the line will be coking coal, oil, LNG and fertilizers. In the Far East, this product range is present in sufficient quantities, and in the east of India, the infrastructure to receive it is being built up. Taking into account the specialization of the Far Eastern ports, the project should be implemented in an expanded geographical scope, including other regions in addition to Primorye, primarily the Khabarovsk Territory,” Chekunkov said

“We are ready to visit Chennai this October on a business mission and, with the participation of leading Russian exporters, to develop mutually beneficial solutions with the Indian side for the launch of the above lines. The NSR is a global transport project. Its development can provide economic benefits to both Russia and non-regional states. For India, this is an opportunity to increase sales of shipbuilding products and gain income from participation in the general logistics business in northern latitudes,” the Russia minister added.

Eastern Maritime Corridor
This proposed sea route between Chennai and Vladivostok is located on the Golden Horn Bay north of North Korea and a short distance from Russia’s border with China. Vladivostok is the largest port on Russia’s Pacific coast. The Chennai-Vladivostok sea route will cover a distance of about 5,600 nautical miles, according to a report by the Economic Times. The corridor will allow India to have a presence in the South China Sea through a trade route that is primarily aimed at the speedy transportation of coking coal.
Northern Sea Route

The Northern Sea Route runs along Russia’s northern coastline and is the shortest shipping route between East Asia and Europe. It stretches across 13,000 km, compared to the 21,000 km covered by the Suez Canal route,” stated a 2021 report by The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

According to a report by The Hindu, Murmansk, the beginning point of the Northern Sea Route (NSR), is witnessing the rising trend of Indian involvement in cargo traffic.

There is an opportunity of transporting commodities such as coking coal, oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and fertilisers. Recent reports show the melting of Arctic ice has revealed new shipping avenues along Russia’s northern coast.

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Source: Livemint

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