Stena Bulk and South Korean Hyundai Glovis, the Hyundai group’s shipping arm, have announced a plan to work together on a long term shipping strategy focused on utilizing the North East Passage, aka, the Northern Sea Route.
The kick-off of their plan begins on 15 September when the Stena Polaris, a P-MAX tanker with ice class 1A designation, casts off her mooring lines at Ust Luga in the Gulf of Finland. She will depart with a cargo of 37,000 tons of naphtha on a 28-day voyage that will take her crew north of Russia, through the Bering Strait, and south to her final destination in South Korea.
“We see the voyage with the Stena Polaris as the beginning of a long and far-reaching collaboration with Hyundai Glovis where we together will invest in different types of transportation of which voyages via the North East Passage are one part,” says Erik HÃ¥nell, President & CEO of Stena Bulk.
Stena notes that a total of more that 270 ships have been given permission to sail through the North East Passage in 2013, although far from all of them will do so.
Stena estimates the total volume of cargo transported via the Arctic Ocean will probably be five times larger this year compared with 2012. Last year, a total of just under 1.3 million tons was transported – a 53% increase over 2011 and, according to conservative estimates, this figure will rise to 1.5 million tons this year and to as much as 15 million tons by 2021.
“Like many others, we feel that there could be a commercial break-through in the near future, although there are still a number of challenges to be overcome before this can take place on a large scale”, says Erik HÃ¥nell.
About the Stena Polaris
The Stena Polaris and the P-MAX tankers were designed and built by Stena and Concordia Maritime. They have a double hull, optimum corrosion control, two engine rooms with full water and fire integrity and two propulsion systems.
The Stena Polaris, which is owned by Concordia Maritime and has been time-chartered by Stena Bulk for this project, has the following technical data: Length: 183 m, beam: 40 m, draft: 11.3 m, deadweight: 65,000 tons.