Transport system of the Murmansk region

Gateway to the Arctic
Port infrastructure
Development of the Murmansk transport hub
Northern sea route
Passenger transport infrastructure

Gateway to the Arctic

The Murmansk Region has a special strategic status for Russia. Geographical location defined the Kola Peninsula as a priority element in ensuring the geopolitical interests of Russia in the north of Europe and the Arctic. Its non-freezing deep-water the Kola Bay became the main base of the Northern Fleet, and Murmansk sea port became the center of industrial fishing in the Barents Sea and the North Atlantic, and the starting point of the Arctic.

Today, Murmansk is the only port in European Russia with an open access to major oceanic routes. Port of Murmansk has direct access to the Northern Sea Route, that links the Atlantic to the Pacific through the arctic waters and provides access to natural resources of the Far North, Siberia and the Far East.  

The Murmansk Region located at the junction of transnational routes and having reliable sea, railway, road and air links with industrial Russian regions can surely be called a northern gateway of Russia.

Port infrastructure

The main port of the region is the sea port of Murmansk located in the Kola Bay. It is also the key port of the Arctic Basin in terms of transporting goods to the High North and far abroad.

The port of Murmansk has all the necessary infrastructure for receiving, servicing and repairing vessels. It is a base for the Russian shipping companies, the emergency and rescue fleet and the unique nuclear icebreakers fleet providing pilotage along the Northern Sea Route.

The Murmansk seaport is among ten biggest Russian ports in terms of cargo transshipment, and is the only Russian port capable of receiving vessels of up to 300 thousand tones deadweight any time of the year due to non-freezing deep water area of Kola Bay.

Cargoes being transshipped in the port of Murmansk include general cargoes, liquid cargoes as well as containers, fish and fish products. Total cargo turnover in 2017 was 51.29 million tones.

Liquid cargoes prevail in the overall amount of transshipped goods. Prevailing among the dry goods coal is handled in terminals of PJSC Murmansk Commercial Seaport, the biggest stevedore company of the Murmansk region. The company also successfully handles apatite and iron-ore concentrates, non-ferrous metals, manganese ore, containers and other cargoes.

The port of Kandalaksha is located in the southern part of the Kola Peninsula in the water area of Kandalaksha Bay. The port of Kandalaksha specializes in transshipment of bulk and general cargoes. Total cargo turnover in 2017 was 1.69 thousand tones.

Development of the Murmansk transport hub

The project of Complex development of the Murmansk transport hub is the main transport infrastructure development project in the region.

The project is being implemented within the state programme Development of the Russian transport system (till 2018 - federal targeted programme Development of the Russian transport system (2010 – 2020)) with the aim of increasing competitiveness and further development of the regional transport infrastructure.

Once the project implementation is fulfilled a year-round deep-water marine hub will be created for handling of container and liquid cargoes as well as transshipment of coal and mineral fertilizers. It will be integrated into the North–South international transport corridor.

The project aims at development of the water area of Kola Bay, sea, railway and road transport infrastructure as well as logistics and warehouse infrastructure.

The project implies construction of a new railway and a cargo terminals on the western shore of Kola Bay. It is planned to reconstruct the existing coal terminal and construct a container terminal, a logistics centre and a distribution zone on the eastern shore of Kola Bay.

The project is being implemented on a basis of public-private partnership. The state funds the construction of an auxiliary utility infrastructure for investment projects to be implemented by private investors. The project, when implemented, will increase the Murmansk port cargo turnover up to 70 million tones.

Northern sea route

The Northern Sea Route is the backbone of the Russian Arctic transport system. It ensures economic integration of the Arctic territories both with other parts of Russia and with foreign countries, provides access to major hydrocarbons deposits and marine bio resources of the Arctic zone as well as to other strategic raw materials.

The powerful nuclear icebreakers fleet enables usage of the Northern Sea Route for transnation transit between the countries of North-West Europe and the Asia-Pacific region (Japan, China) and the USA and Canada and its integration into the global transport system as an independent Eurasian transport corridor with year-round transport of export cargoes.

FSUE Atomflot serving a base of an integrated icebreaker complex of the Russian federation civil nuclear fleet provides icebreaker pilotage for vessels along the Northern Sea Route,  exploration, scientific and research activities in the Arctic seas and emergency and rescue operations. Currently new icevreakers of 22220 project are being constructed.

JSC Murmansk Shipping Company has a unique experience of shipping in northern latitudes. It is the biggest shipping company taking up the main share of cargo freight under the Russian flag in the Russian Arctic sector.

Murmansk transport branch of PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel has successfully implemented a project on building a series of reinforced ice-class vessels for transporting cargoes along the Northern Sea Route without icebreaker pilotage which contributed to efficient handling of cargoes of Norilsk Nickel. It has its own fleet to ensure year-round regular transport connection between the seaports of Dudinka, Murmansk, Archangelsk, Rotterdam and Hamburg.

Passenger transport infrastructure

The general railway transport is a key element of the regional transport system. It takes up a considerable share in the transportation of passenger and goods. Total length of railway network in the Murmansk region is about 870 kilometers.

Automobile transport plays an important role in passenger transport connections between the Murmansk region and the central parts of Russia. The length of federal, regional and local public roads in the Murmansk region is over 3.5 thousand km.

There are three international automobiles border checkpoints in the Murmansk region: Borisoglebsk, Lotta and Salla. Due to the increased traffic, there is a number of projects for the modernization of the international border checkpoints and roads renovation to be funded, in part, by international cross-border cooperation programmes.

Considering that the Murmansk region is remote from the central parts of Russia, air transport is of particular importance for passenger transportation.

There are two airports on the Kola peninsula providing services for passenger transportation, handling of aircrafts, luggage, post and cargoes: international one in Murmansk and one in Apatity (with passenger traffic in 2017 of 846 thousand people and 59 thousand people correspondingly).

The border checkpoint enables the airport of Murmansk to provide international flights.

In order to develop necessary infrastructure for receiving and servicing cruise ships and ferries, create a regular ferry link with Norway and increase the number of foreign cruise vessels entering the port, pier of the Murmansk seaport was reconstructed in 2015 and passenger terminal was renovated in 2016. It is planned to provide the passenger terminal with border checkpoint.