Meeting of the Presidium of the State Commission for Development of the Arctic held in Arkhangelsk
Deputy Prime Minister, Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yury Trutnev took part in a meeting of the Presidium of the State Commission for the Development of the Arctic in Arkhangelsk. The agenda included the development of the Northern Sea Route, creation of an advanced special economic zone (ASEZ) in the Arkhangelsk Region, and distribution of funds from the Presidential Arctic Single Subsidy.
“First of all, we will discuss the implementation of the presidential instructions on the development of the Northern Sea Route. We will also talk about the development of the Arkhangelsk transportation hub and achieving the targeted indicators for cargo traffic. Arkhangelsk has always had an important place in the Arctic transport system because the port is close to centers of extracting and processing. In 2022, cargo shipping volumes at the Port of Arkhangelsk totaled 6.6 million tons, exceeding the volume in 2021 by 24 percent. Measures for the development of the Arkhangelsk transport hub are included in the plan for the development of the Northern Sea Route until 2035. They include the creation of a new deep-water port with a capacity of about 40 million tons of cargo per year, including dredging, plus the development of railway and road infrastructure,” Yury Trutnev said in his opening remarks.
According to Arkhangelsk Region Governor Alexander Tsybulsky, the Arkhangelsk transportation hub is a key cargo transshipment center for current and prospective Arctic projects. This is being significantly strengthened in the transport system of the Northern Sea Route, also due to the new geopolitical and economic conditions that have changed logistics chains in shipping.
Key shipping operators in the Arkhangelsk Region continue to develop their port infrastructure and their berths. At the same time, the port and the promising deep-water area of the port are not the only structural elements of the Arkhangelsk transport hub, which includes railway and bridge infrastructure, road and access roads, which also require development, renovation and updates. The bulk of the cargo shipped through the port arrives by road and rail. Loading and unloading at the Port of Arkhangelsk is currently difficult due to long lines of vehicles at the entrances to the cargo areas and congestion during certain periods at key railway junctions, in particular the Solombalka station. To further increase cargo shipping, the approaches to the main cargo areas need to be expanded and upgraded.
A comprehensive plan for the development of the Arkhangelsk transport hub is being developed. The main proposals were submitted by the leadership of the Arkhangelsk Region to the Ministry of Transport. The draft plan includes the development of the port, adjacent transport and engineering infrastructure at the existing port, human resource development in the transport sector, the digitalization of port activities, and the creation of conditions for the development of ship repair services in the immediate vicinity of the Northern Sea Route.
Yury Trutnev instructed the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic to submit a report to the Russian government within two weeks with details on the development of the Arkhangelsk transport hub.
Additional measures to achieve the targeted indicators for cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route in 2023 were also discussed. The President of Russia set a goal to increase cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route to 80 million tons by 2024. The target for 2023 is 36 million tons. According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the companies that have assumed the obligations to increase traffic on the Northern Sea Route are ready to fulfill them.
Summing up the discussion, Yury Trutnev noted that the development of the Northern Sea Route is strategic for the Russian economy.
“Such development requires both additional costs and efforts. But as a result, we will have our own shipping route, only one of two in the world: reliable, safe and controlled by the Russian Federation,” he said.
The creation of an ASEZ in the Arkhangelsk Region was approved. The region and the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic and the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and Arctic, proposes developing two areas in the planned zone: the implementation of the Arctic Neighborhood project and the creation of an industrial park to accommodate small and medium-sized industrial enterprises.
The Arctic Neighborhood project includes state support for housing construction. The project assumes that an ASEZ area with all of the preferences and benefits for the developers will be created for residential development. At the same time, the utility infrastructure will be built at federal expense. This mechanism will make it possible to build housing, including for categories of citizens in need.
Four undeveloped land plots for housing construction have been chosen for the Arctic Neighborhood project in Mayskaya Gorka, the most dynamically developing district in Arkhangelsk. The estimated area of the total urban development project at the selected sites is about 200,000 square meters of living space. In the first stage, a tender will be created for the construction of a neighborhood with a volume of at least 70,000-80,000 square meters.
The creation of an industrial park is aimed at solving the problem of an acute shortage of investment sites ready to accommodate production. Today there are requests from 20 potential investors with a total planned investment of about 5 billion rubles, who need land with the necessary utility infrastructure.
According to the Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, Alexei Chekunkov, the Arctic Neighborhood mechanism and the arrangement of industrial parks in the ASEZ will diversify the economic sectors of the Arkhangelsk Region, encourage import substitution and create new high-paying jobs.
“In terms of social development, of course, we will continue to improve the quality of people’s lives, focusing this tool on the most urgent measures to improve the quality of life, education and healthcare,” he said.
Amendments to the plans for the social development of these economic growth centers in the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions and in the Republic of Karelia were considered. In particular, an additional 300 million rubles have been allocated from the budget of the Murmansk Region for the development of housing and social infrastructure in settlements where military units are deployed.