Barcos rusos cruzan el ‘puente ártico’ hasta Manitoba, Canadá ( en inglés)

Esto es un duro revés a los planes de ampliación que definitivamente no ha demostrado ser factible desde ningún punto de vista.

Veremos hasta donde llegan estos directivos de la ACP en sus mentiras y engaño a este ingenuo pueblo, al cual pretenden asaltarle el buen negocio que representa el canal en este momento en estas circunstancias.

Burica Press

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Russian ship crosses ‘Arctic bridge’ to Manitoba

Arrival of the Kapitan Sviridov at the port in Churchill marks historic first step in the construction of a new trade route, officials say

JOE FRIESEN

From Thursday’s Globe and Mail

October 18, 2007 at 2:18 AM EDT

WINNIPEG — The Russian ship slipped into Canada’s northern seaport under the cover of darkness yesterday, and its arrival was hailed as an historic step in the construction of an Arctic bridge between the two countries.

The Kapitan Sviridov docked in Churchill, Man., yesterday morning, having sailed from Estonia loaded with bags of fertilizer destined for sale to North American farmers. It’s the first time the port has accepted imports from Russia.

Officials from the Russian embassy greeted the ship yesterday, along with representatives of the port of Churchill, the Murmansk Shipping Company and the government of Manitoba.

“Today represents the first successful shipment on the Arctic bridge,” said Mike Ogborn, managing director of OmniTrax, the company that owns the port. “It is a great step forward in showing the world that the port of Churchill is a two-way port.”

The concept of the Arctic bridge has long been a priority for the government of Manitoba, which sees vast potential for Churchill as the northern hub of a mid-continent trade corridor that would extend to the Gulf of Mexico. Churchill already boasts the advantage of having the shortest sea route between Canada and northern Europe, and it received a substantial boost this month when Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $68-million in public and private funding to upgrade the aging port and railway.

The Russian government is also eager to encourage Churchill’s growth, because it sees it as a natural outlet for its northern port of Murmansk.

“The goal is very simple,” said Sergey Khuduiakov, acting press attaché for the embassy of the Russian Federation. “Global warming gives us an opportunity to establish better marine shipping routes between Canada and Russia, and this project, Arctic bridge, has very good prospects.

“For Canada and Russia, we are both very interested in the development of our northern regions. Co-operation is very important for us.”

Michael Berk, a research fellow at the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, a non-profit think tank, said Churchill could become the terminus of a new silk road linking Eurasia and North America.

“As ice continues to melt, this is potentially the shortest route connecting North America to Eurasia,” Mr. Berk said. “If we expand and connect Churchill with Murmansk, an ice-free, year-round port, we’re talking about creating a bridge that will link North American markets with increasingly important Eurasian markets. It’s also the closest route for transporting goods from Asia to the Midwestern United States directly, bypassing the bottlenecks of congested ports in the Pacific. When one starts to think about these issues combined, the opportunity is tremendous.”

Mr. Berk said the most eye-catching trade opportunity in Eurasia is oil and gas, but there are many other possibilities, including minerals, raw materials and finished goods.

Mr. Ogborn said he will be travelling to Murmansk later this year to meet with companies interested in shipping through Churchill.

He said he’s had a lot of interest from potential buyers and sellers on both sides of the Arctic. Next year, there’s likely to be more shipments of fertilizer, as well as other bulk dry commodities, he said. Oil and gas shipments are something his company will look at in future.

“We can accept refined products, so if they ship diesel we have a tank farm that has 40 million litres of capability there,” he said.

The fertilizer that arrived yesterday was bought by the Farmers of North America, a Saskatchewan-based co-operative. The ethanol boom has driven fertilizer prices sky high, so the potential exists for much cheaper fertilizer to be brought from Eastern Europe at lower cost.

At the moment, Churchill is open to ships from July to November because of the presence of Arctic ice in shipping lanes. But many say the shipping season could be extended if the major insurance companies would recognize that ice conditions have changed substantially over the past century. Without insurance, ships are unwilling to risk the ice on Hudson Bay, but as the climate continues to change, the shipping season will continue to grow.

When it leaves Churchill, the Kapitan Sviridov will carry a load of Canadian wheat destined for Italy.

This year, the Canadian Wheat Board will send more than 600,000 tonnes of grain through Churchill, making it by far the port’s biggest customer.

The port and its related industries employ about one-third of the work force in this town of 1,000.

Many hope that the Arctic bridge will help return Churchill to its Cold War glory days, when the town had 10 times its current population, many of them employed by the U.S. or Canadian military to keep an eye on the Soviet enemy across the Arctic.

*****

A DIFFICULT BIRTH

Churchill has always been a strategic port for Canada, with the first fur traders from Western Europe coming to North America via Hudson’s Bay.

But that geographical advantage hasn’t helped the port much in recent times, despite its owners’ efforts to expand business over the past several decades.

“It’s had a very difficult birth,” said Barry Prentice, a transportation analyst at the University of Manitoba.

Things had started to look up in the early 20th century, he said, when farmers in Western Canada wanted to utilize the port because it provided the shortest route to the ocean. The problem then was that no rail lines had been built to Churchill.

Three projected railways eventually materialized as a single route in the early 1930s at the farmers’ insistence. But intermittent permafrost and uneven ground meant that the tracks were expensive to maintain.

“CN Rail did what they had to do, but they didn’t go out of their way to make it really work,” Professor Prentice said.

It wasn’t until the Second World War that the port saw its true value, with Canada shipping thousands of tonnes of goods to Russia. However, once the war was over, the government-run port had to go back to competing with private grain ports in Thunder Bay and Vancouver.

“The long and the short of it is the grain companies had no interest in moving grain through Churchill because they weren’t making any money that way,” he said.

The port was sold to Denver-based OmniTRAX Inc. in 1997.

Other factors that have hindered the port’s expansion over the years include the fact that Russia, when it was still under Communist rule, didn’t do much trading. The port has primarily been used for exporting, but ships coming in empty still have to pay the round-trip rates. And it is plagued by the same problems as other seasonal ports, “if not more so with its season being much shorter,” Prof. Prentice said.

But, he added, the port’s fate may soon change, especially with the Arctic summers becoming longer – less ice means more traffic. “If there’s one positive thing that comes out of climate change, it could be this.”

Unnati Gandhi

*****

Port primer

The port of Churchill provides Manitoba with a unique distinction among the Prairie provinces – direct access to the sea.

The location of the port is ideal for shipping products to and from Europe, Russia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East,

offering a much shorter route to European markets than by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ports.

Churchill can be reached by rail, air and sea.

The rail line was built primarily to link Western wheat lands to the port, but it has also proved to be an invaluable transportation artery for northern Manitoba and the central Arctic region.

DETAILS:

The only deep-water ocean port in the prairie region.

Shipping season: July to November. The use of icebreakers could significantly lengthen the shipping season.

Four deep-sea berths for the loading and unloading of grain, general cargo and tanker vessels.

Able to accommodate Panamax class vessels (up to 60,000 tonne capacity).

Rail access by Hudson Bay Rail and CN Rail to most North American points.

Throughput capacity: more than 1 million tonnes of grain.

Grain accounts for 90 per cent of the port’s current traffic.

Sources: gov.mb.ca; omnitrax.ca; portofchurchill.ca

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Churchill port welcomes first-ever Russian shipment

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | 4:42 PM CT

A ship loaded with fertilizer from northwestern Russia arrived in Churchill on Wednesday, the first time the northern Manitoba port has received goods from Russia.

The shipment, on the Murmansk Shipping Co. vessel the Kapital Sviridov, is considered the first in an “Arctic bridge” linking Canadian Prairie and Russian markets.

Until now, Churchill has mainly been used to ship grain out of Canada to Europe and North Africa, and to receive supplies for communities farther north in Canada.

The establishment of an Arctic bridge would be a win-win situation for everyone involved, said Rob Huebert, associate director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

“One of the reasons why the Russians are pushing it so hard is they are trying to establish themselves as an international ported destination, so there is tremendous advantages to be gained by the Russians if this is successful,” he said.

“For Canada … we are starting to run into full capacity at all of our other port systems — and when I say systems, I mean the rail links and the port itself. By being able to go to the port of Churchill, we actually improve the ability to have trade not only from Churchill, but from Western Canada in general.”

he Port of Churchill has been trying to expand its business for decades. Its largest customer is the Canadian Wheat Board, which ships grain through Churchill to international ports and — starting this year — domestic ports.

The port is also a key supply link for Arctic development projects, such as new mines in Nunavut.

Churchill Mayor Mike Spence predicted the Russian shipment will be the first of many, adding that Denmark, Sweden and Iceland have also expressed interest in future trade through the port.

“It sends the message that the Port of Churchill is viable. It’s open for business, and we need to build on that,” he said.

The fertilizer is bound for western Canadian farmers through the Saskatchewan-based buying group Farmers of North America.

Spokesman Jason Mann said he saved about 10 per cent on the total cost of the order by shipping through Churchill instead of Montreal or Thunder Bay, which will benefit the Prairie farmers who are the end consumers.

The Russian shipment comes less than two weeks after Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Churchill to announce more than $68 million in improvements to the port and its connecting rail line. The rail line is cost-shared between the federal and provincial governments and operator OmniTRAX Canada, which also operates the port.

Churchill, Canada’s only deep-water Arctic seaport, has attracted more attention in recent years as scientists predict climate change could open the Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean.

Currently, the port’s business is limited to about four months a year when its waters are ice-free.

Some experts predict that within decades, it could be operational 10 months a year.

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Canada to Build Arctic Port and Base

The Associated Press

TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced plans Saturday for an army training center and a deep-water port to assert his country’s sovereignty over the Arctic region, while Denmark said it was staking its own claim with a scientific expedition.

The United States, meanwhile, began an expedition Friday toward the Arctic to map the sea floor off Alaska, but a scientist linked to the project denied that the United States was actively joining the Arctic competition.

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Round Table Around the Arctic

On September 21, the “Gudok” publishing office had a round table, dedicated to ensuring presence of Russia in the Arctic region. “Gudok” publishers and Euro-Asian Transportation Union were the organizers of this event. Below is an excerpt of the round table agenda, published in “Gudok” newspaper.

Round Table Around the Arctic Transportation Difficulties

Topicality of the Arctic region prospecting is in large volumes of natural resources, including hydrocarbons. Russia’s strive to consolidate its influence in the Arctic has already been strongly opposed by a number of countries, having their own vision of the perspectives of this region.

Deputy Head of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of the Russian Federation (RosHydroMet) Alexander Frolov said that based on the forecasts of the Arctic region for the nearest 10-15 years the ice cover reduction is a stable trend.

Deputy Head of the Navigation Department of the Federal Agency for Marine and River Transport Evgeny Kormyshev agreed with the opinion that the activities of Russia have dramatically increased in the Arctic region. According to the current plans of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, around 5 billion tons of fuel equivalent will be produced in the Barents and Pechora Seas, however currently there are no transportation means to ship such volumes.

Evgeny Kormyshev highlighted that there no unequivocal answer to the question of which transportation scheme on the shelf is more preferable – based on private capital or on government investments. Private businesses will not be able to resolve the problem of ice breakers support, whereas the government will not manage shelf development and building of new ships. “This is the very example when a public private partnership stands more chances. Evgeny Kormyshev added that Northern Sea Route may be promoted as a new thruway due to shelf prospecting in the first place, as it is impossible to accurately schedule shipping operations along this route unlike southern seas.

Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit partnership on the coordination of the Northern Seas Route navigation Vladimir Michailichenko noted that “claims of our rights on the shelf, which development will define the future of the Northern Sea Route, should be backed up by actual steps of the state on investments into the projects, ice breakers manufacturing and expedited geological survey of the shelf areas. Public private partnership – is the only option to pursue such avenue”.

Arctic Region Monitoring System

Alexander Frolov noted that the Arctic Region Monitoring System should be comprehensive and include ground, over-water, aerial, subsea and satellite-based means with the latter component as the most important one. Currently, there is no Russian satellite hydrometeorological and environmental monitoring system whatsoever.

This year a polar-orbital satellite was supposed to be launched, however the launch was scrubbed till mid next year. This is an idea to create a high elliptical orbit satellite fleet. This project has been technically worked out and designed, and RosHydroMet partnered with Federal Space Agency have already come up with a proposal to launch two-three satellites that can reach high altitudes over the North Pole thus enabling to replace geostationary satellites.
“For now we depend on the data delivered from the foreign satellites. There are plans to develop information systems using public private partnership, once the state creates several major data receiving centers in the Arctic region to distribute the information further on.” Private businesses may be involved here as the equipment suppliers, partners in R&D activities or in resolution of special tasks that private companies may carry out better than the state” – added RosHydroMet Deputy Head.

Olga Gershenzon, ScanEx R&D Center Vice-President, noted that the lack of domestic satellite group, monitoring the Arctic region, may bring to the fact that Russia will never fit in the global information system. For example, nowadays Russia can not get “first-hand” radar data for the Baltic territory from the European satellite even for money. ESA refuses to sign direct contracts on operational radar data supply as there is a queue for such data for the Baltic region and they have no resources to serve all the requests.

Therefore, we might find ourselves in the situation when we will be able to get only repeatedly processed data at high prices at best. At worst, we will not have it at all. Besides, if the authorities are not “on the same page” on the issues of the data volume and type, this problem will never be resolved. A good example is the Emercom that has recently purchased a considerable resource of radar data reception. However, the full-scale governmental decision is required to resolve this problem. Without this we miss the opportunity to get the information support. And it is not only the question of ships ice-breakers convoys, but the oil spills pollution monitoring, ships coordinates verification and illegal fishing control as well.

Te round table participants came to the conclusion that a special governmental strategy is required for the Arctic region development. Alexander Frolov believes that presence of Russia in the Arctic region is rather a geo-strategic task, than a new economic project. And the future of the country depends on the resolution of this task directly. “The Russian Arctic has the future only provided we have long-term government programs, implying solid investment and cooperation with private businesses. We count a lot on the extensive development of the Northern Sea Route infrastructure in the nearest future under the “Arctic Development” subprogram of the Russia’s “World Ocean” federal target program” – said RosHydroMet Deputy Head.

According to the round table participants, priority over the Arctic region will be acquired by those who will manage to create a sound infrastructure in the region. The Northern Sea Route is of strategic importance to consolidate position of our country in this region.

Images: Source ESA – http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMYTC13J6F_index_2.html
More at: www.scanex.com

 

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