Guest lecture by Dr. Otsuka Natsuhiko

NIAS hereby invites you to an afternoon with Dr. Otsuka, a Japanese specialist on the Northern Sea Route (NSR). 

The event is a part of the ongoing NIAS research project "Asia in a Changing Arctic" led by Dr. Aki Tonami.

The event will take place on Monday, January 27, 2014 16:00-17:30 at Nordic Institute of Asian Studies 

Will the Northern Sea Route see a bright tomorrow? By Dr. Otsuka Natsuhiko

The Northern Sea Route (herein after referred to as “NSR”) is known as the shortest sea route between Northern Europe and East Asia along the Russian Arctic coast. Through the NSR, the distance can be shortened by about 30% compared to the Suez Canal route. Since 2010, maritime transport between Europe and Asia using the Northern Sea Route has been accelerating. It is reported that vessels are easily transit through the Arctic Sea in the summer. However, commercial shipping via the NSR under icy conditions has only a history of several years and technical information on the navigation in the NSR is still limited. Regarding feasibility of the maritime transport via the NSR, we will face two issues as technical/engineering issues in navigating the Arctic icy waters and economical/marketability issues whether the NSR can fulfil market demand in terms of economical efficiency and required service.

In the presentation Dr. Otsuka will discuss navigability of the NSR under ice condition in recent years and cost effectiveness of maritime transport via the NSR. He will also talk about what the industries in Japan think of the NSR.


Dr. Natsuhiko Otsuka (Ph.D. in engineering) is a consultant at the North Japan Port Consultants Co. Ltd., and an expert on port management and planning. Dr. Otsuka has long been involved with the Norther Sea Route (NSR) and his recent article, "Cost Analysis of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and the Conventional Route Shipping", which was co-written with Dr. Masahiko Furuichi, won the “Maritime Economics & Logistics Best Paper Prize” at IAME (International Association of Maritime Economists) 2013 Conference. Dr. Otsuka is on a visit to Copenhagen in relation to the research project funded by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan.