Russian oil tankers will make their maiden voyage from the Russian port in the White Sea to South-East Asia via the Northern Sea Route this fall, a deputy Russian transport minister said on Friday.
"A test passage of two oil tankers, accompanied by an icebreaker, will be made in the Arctic this fall. This will be a commercial voyage from the White Sea port of Vitino to the South-East Asian countries," Viktor Olersky told an expert Arctic council meeting.
The official said the voyage will attract the attention of freight forwarders to the transport capacities of the Northern Sea Route, which is the shortest seaway from the ports of western Europe and Russia to the Far East and South-East Asia.
Olersky said that in the future, the Northern Sea Route could replace the much longer passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Suez Canal.
He said Russia could use the Arctic to deliver oil and gas from its polar fields to the United States and western Europe and to transport fertilizers to the markets of China and East Asia.
However, the official stressed that works to provide transport infrastructure in the north have currently stopped and funds are no longer being allocated for modern hydrographic equipment and cartographic complexes.
MOSCOW, June 11 (RIA Novosti)