Rosatom logo
The proposed route runs from Murmansk near Russia's border with Norway to the Bering Strait near Alaska. Image Credit: Reuters

Moscow: The Russian nuclear agency Rosatom said it has set up a joint venture with Dubai's DP World to develop container shipping through the Arctic as part of an initiative heavily promoted by President Vladimir Putin.

The deal with one of the world's top port operators is the most tangible sign yet of Moscow's ability to attract big international partners to help it realise its ambitious plans for what it calls the 'Northern Sea Route'.

Putin has talked up prospects for the Arctic corridor, including in a speech at China's Belt and Road forum last week, as Russia shifts its trade eastwards in response to Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine. The route, made viable by the melting of Arctic sea ice due to climate change, runs from Murmansk near Russia's border with Norway to the Bering Strait near Alaska.

Open offer to join

"As for the Northern Sea Route, Russia is not just inviting its partners to actively use its transit potential. I will say more: we invite interested states to directly participate in its development," Putin said in Beijing last week.

The JV - called International Container Logistics - was registered on October 20, with authorised share capital of 960 million roubles ($10.3 million). It will be 51 per cent owned by a unit of Rosatom, the designated infrastructure operator of the Northern Sea Route, and 49 per cent by the Russian unit of DP World.

"The collaboration between these two companies is aimed at developing an additional trade route for maritime container transportation through the Northern Sea Route," Rosatom said.

It said the immediate objectives included completing the design of infrastructure facilities and specifying the volume of investment needed.

No comment was immediately available from DP World. The two companies first announced in 2021 that they would work together to pilot container shipping between northwest Europe and east Asia via the Arctic.