The Northern Sea Route (Russian: Се́верный морско́й путь, Severnyy morskoy put, shortened to Севморпуть, Sevmorput) is a shipping route officially defined by Russian legislation as lying east of Novaya Zemlya and specifically running along the Russian Arctic coast from the Kara Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait. The entire route lies in Arctic waters and within Russia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Parts are free of ice for only two months per year. The overall route on Russia's side of the Arctic between North Cape and the Bering Strait has been called the Northeast Passage, analogous to the Northwest Passage on the Canada side.
While the Northeast Passage includes all the East Arctic seas and connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Northern Sea Route does not include the Barents Sea, and it therefore does not reach the Atlantic.
Melting Arctic ice caps are likely to increase traffic in and the commercial viability of the Northern Sea Route. One study, for instance, projects, "remarkable shifts in trade flows between Asia and Europe, diversion of trade within Europe, heavy shipping traffic in the Arctic and a substantial drop in Suez traffic. Projected shifts in trade also imply substantial pressure on an already threatened Arctic ecosystem."
The route was first conquered by Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld's Vega expedition.
A Russian Federal state Institution “The Northern Sea Route Administration” was established in 2013 to organize navigation in the water area of the Northern sea route by issuing navigation permissions and contributing to support activities.
Number of transits per flag state.