For many years researchers, oil- and shipping companies and governmental bodies in Russia and other northern countries have been working on the development to use the Northern Sea Route (NSR) for shipping oil and other resources out of the Russian Arctic. The EU-funded project ARCDEV (Arctic Demonstration and Exploratory Voyage), in which gas-condensate was transported in winter 1998 by an icebreaking tanker escorted by two icebreakers from the river “Ob” to western Europe did show the technological feasibility but also economical drawbacks. Due to the effects of the climate change, i.e. the significant decrease of the ice thickness and coverage in the Arctic, the Northern Sea Route has gained attention by potential users around the world. Further research on various topics of Arctic Transport Systems such as Route Optimisation, Navigation in Ice, Ship Design, Environmental Protection is being intensified and will help transport along the NSR to be profitable and environmentally safe. In a few years ship-transport of oil from the western part of the Russian Arctic will start year-round. The experience gained by these activities will be used to develop also the cargo transport along the entire Northern Sea Route from the Kara Gate to the Bering Strait as part of the 40% shorter sea way between Europe and East Asia.

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