Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Far East Investment and Export Agency (FEIA) to partner on the development of the Northern Sea Route and the Russian Far East.
The MoU has been signed under the Ministry of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East (MINVR) and is expected to establish a model for the development of the Northern Sea Route as a global transit corridor between Europe and Asia.
It also intends to help MOL expand its presence in Arctic shipping by transporting several natural energy resources, including natural gas, oil, coal and others.
The company is already involved in Russia’s Yamal LNG Project, which aims to facilitate the exportation of cargoes to Asia via the Northern Sea Route.
MOL expects to deploy its first ice-breaking LNG carrier for the project by the end of March.
The shipping firm has also begun a feasibility study to establish an LNG transshipment terminal and marketing complex in the Kamchatka area of the Russian Far East with PAO Novatek, a Russian gas producer and the current main shareholder of the Yamal LNG project.
According to MOL, the Northern Sea Route comprises a much shorter distance than the traditional route between Europe and Asia via the Suez Canal.
The route is also anticipated to require less time and fewer costs, as well as reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
FEI Ageneral director Leonid Petukhov said: “We hope that MOL will be effectively using the Northern Sea Route for transporting cargoes to Japan and other Asia-Pacific countries, and jointly we will be able to attract significant investments into the Northern Sea Route infrastructure development.
“The agency is ready to help MOL in implementing all its current and future projects.”
FEIA also expects to use the latest MoU to boost economic cooperation between Russia and Japan, in addition to furthering the development of the Northern Sea Route.