A historic event is set to take place in Northern Norway in early September, as a bulk carrier with a non-Russian flag will use the Northern Sea Route as a transit trade lane for the first time. One of the only modern heavy ice-class bulk carriers, the MV NORDIC BARENTS, will carry a cargo of 41,000 tons of iron ore concentrate through Arctic and Russian waters to China.
Russian authorities are said to have given this project their first-ever approval for a foreign flagged vessel to ship a cargo in transit from a foreign port to a foreign port through Russian waters.
The international shipping industry is excited and optimistic about this new development in the maritime industry. Behind this transit voyage is a strong Nordic-Russian partnership between Norwegian Tschudi Shipping Company, Danish Nordic Bulk Carriers, and Russian Rosatomflot.
This development signifies great strides between the Nordic countries and Russia, hopefully opening doors to new shipping, mining, and trade opportunities as well as to Nordic Bulk Carriers in this crucial region.
Felix H. Tschudi, Chairman of the Norwegian Tschudi Shipping Company, explains, “The Northern Sea Route can be of great importance for the companies in northern Scandinavia and on the Kola Peninsula, which ship oil, gas, minerals, and other raw materials to the increasingly important Asian markets.”
The MV NORDIC BARENTS is an ice-class 1a ship, the highest conventional ice-class, and was the only ship classification that Russian authorities would allow for the transit. Not all ships are equipped for such a route, leaving only a few select vessels capable of handling the task.
The northern sea route to China is a historic transit across the Arctic, and is shorter than traditional shipping routes generally sailing through the Suez Canal. Through the use of this waterway ships will save on time, fuel, and co2. According to partners, the route has the potential to generate significant savings for both cargo and ship owners with no threat of piracy.
“The Northern Sea Route shortens the distance to China by about one third,” Managing director in Nordic Bulk, Christian Bonfils, explains. “We are pleased that parties from three traditional seafaring nations made the transit possible through extraordinary commitment from all involved parties.”
Two Russian icebreakers, operated by Rosatomflot, will escort the ship on its voyage.
The Tschudi Shipping Company, through its subsidiary Tschudi Arctic Transit and Nordic Bulk Carriers, who work closely with Russian maritime authorities, are the leading pioneers behind the Nordic-Russian partnership and the historic Northern Route.
Nordic Bulk Carriers A/S is a Danish, privately controlled, shipping company, operating bulk carriers worldwide. The company is specialized in operating ice class ships, as well as operating cargoes such as cement, steel scrap, and fertilizers.
Rosatomflot, the atomic icebreaking fleet, has been providing regular shipping of Russian and foreign cargoes along the Northern Sea Route since 1959, possessing the full spectrum of industrial means necessary for complex repairs and vessel maintenance.
The Centre for High North Logistics (CHNL) is an international non-profit organization focusing on developing transport solutions for the High North.
Edited by Miranda Max, gCaptain staff
[Photo courtesy Nordic Bulk Carriers]