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Russia to turn remote Arctic village into shipment hub on Northern Sea Route

PortandTerminal.com, June 29, 2019

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree that will turn the remote Arctic settlement into a hub for shipments on the Northern Sea Route

(MOSCOW, RUSSIA) – The population of Dikson, Russia’s most northerly port, has dwindled from 5,000 in the Soviet era to some 300 today. The development of shipping routes through the Russian Arctic offers though some promise of renewal, but most residents see little future in this Siberian outpost. That may be about to change.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree last week that hopes to turn around Dikson’s fortunes and turn it into a shipment hub on the Northern Sea Route.

Behind the decision lies a plan to boost shipments on the Northern Sea Route, the government said. Foreign vessels will now be allowed to sail into local ports to load and unload goods.

Vostok Coal company

Dikson is located on the northwestern coast of the Taymyr Peninsula, near the major Taybass coal deposits owned by the Vostok Coal company.

The company, controlled by powerful businessman Dmitry Bosov, intends to ship out as much as 20 million tons of coal per year from the area by 2024. Two major fields are under development and commercial production is due to start in 2019, the company says

A third major license area was obtained earlier this year.

Two major new seaports are to be built. The Chayka and Sever terminals will be able to handle combined quantities of more than 30 million tons of coal per year. Despite the shrinking international demands, all of the Taybass coal is aimed at export.

The new terminals will also be able to handle coal from the Syradasayskoye field, the federal government argues. The Syradasayskoye is located further south in the peninsula. It is controlled by company Severnaya Zvezda and planned developed with the building of a 120 long new railway. The field can produce up to 10 million tons of coal per year, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

And the future of Dikson is more than coal. It is also oil.

The Neftegazholding company intends to build a more than 400-kilometre pipeline from its Payakha fields to the Sever terminal. Annual shipments from the site will ultimately amount to 26 million tons, the company says.

Dikson, Russia

Located at 73° North, Dikson on Russia’s Taimyr Peninsula is the world’s northernmost town on the mainland

The 1980s were the golden age for Dikson. Michael Gorbachev presented big plans for developing the Arctic, including shipping along the Siberia north coast. Those hopes faded away as did Dikson’s population after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The port in Dikson, Russia is currently used for life support of the settlement, military facilities, Arctic expeditions and polar stations, as well as for hydrometeorological and hydrographic service of The Northeast Passage route.

Summer is short so far north. The ice on the river normally breaks up by mid-June and freezes again in early October. Polar night last, when the sun is under the horizon round the clock, last for 82 days. Average winter temperature is – 30° C, while the average summer temperature is +9° C.

Dikson’s population has dwindled away from 5,000 inhabitants in the 1980’s to about 500 today.

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