Russia’s new Cold War - MoneyWeek at 12.26.29

Not a bad article on the whole, written by someone more interested in the investment opportunities perceived to flow out of an opening NSR than in the details of that same opening unfortunately. The problem is that the average Joe or Josephine would read this and accept it as fact. And then it would be retweeted and retweeted.


1. "Of course, traversing the Arctic comes with its problems. There are no emergency services, at times there’s need for an ice-breaker on standby, and it’s a generally inhospitable ride."

No mention of the fact that you have to pay for that icebreaker escort, delays due to ice, and the effects on the voyage economics as a result of either or both. Depending on the timing and route the Russians will quite reasonably require your ship to have ice class which will cost you more. Not so sure why it's inhospitable, other than the fog and ice it's also stunningly beautiful.


2."Only four cargo vessels sailed the whole route in 2010. In 2011, it was 34. It was 46 in 2012, and 71 in 2013."

Lies, more lies and statistics, surprised there wasn't a graph. We know from the NSR Administration that tonnage was up about 3% last year. 


3. "Russia is investing billions of dollars in Arctic infrastructure to reap the benefit from the Suez of the north."

No, no, no. Less than a hundred movements compared to 17,000?


4."China and Russia’s land grab"

There will be no land grab, China is no doubt interested in the resources in the circumpolar Arctic but unlike the Antarctic (a point that seems to elude many authors) this is not a big park with countries jockeying for a piece. It's all either spoken for by sovereign nations or under dispute (I'm looking at you Hans Island) via UNCLOS. China will undoubtedly get the resources they need out of the Arctic, they may even plant a flag on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean (so Chillingarov) but grabbing some land? 


5. "And some shipping executives fear that Russian control will keep them from using this new and potentially lucrative trade route.'

Yah, no. Russia will only be too keen to sell you icebreaker services in the future I suspect. They will keep tight control over the NSR as they have for many years but short of some international dispute your suitable ship and cash will always be welcome.