More cargo finds way through Arctic waters, up Siberian rivers

The Christophe de Margerie, an ice-class tanker fitted out to transport liquefied natural gas, is docked in Arctic port of Sabetta, Yamalo-Nenets district, Russia March 30, 2017. (Olesya Astakhova / Reuters)
The Christophe de Margerie, an ice-class tanker fitted out to transport liquefied natural gas, is docked in Arctic port of Sabetta, Yamalo-Nenets district, Russia March 30, 2017. (Olesya Astakhova / Reuters)

Another 10 shiploads will soon be heading to Russia’s Arctic port of Sabetta and then sent thousands of kilometers up the river Ob for delivery near the border to Kazakhstan.

The destination is the south Ural city of Tobolsk, but the goods are sent to Sabetta, the new Arctic port on the north tip of Peninsula Yamal, and then southward on the great Siberian rivers.

It is a tremendously long and complicated delivery. But this route is the best alternative for big-size shipments to central Siberian destinations, companies say.

In the course of summer, 10 shiploads will be unloaded in Sabetta and then placed on river barges for further transportation. The barges will be towed through the Gulf of Ob, then on the river of Ob and then on the river Irtysh.

The river voyage alone will be more than 2,000 kilometers (about 1,240 miles) long.

The destination is company Sibur’s new oil refinery in Tobolsk and the cargo is big-scale plant components.

“Transportation along the Northern Sea Route is the only natural way to deliver big-scale goods on the Ob to the centre of Siberia,” the Ural regional customs department says in a statement.

The unique logistics operations were first made in 2016, when 11 barges with 20,000 tons of cargo were sent to Tobolsk. This year, the number of barges will be increased to 30, the customs office informs.

“The uniqueness and importance of the Northern Sea Route is enormous,” the customs representatives say.