ESL Shipping’s New Eco Bulkers to Transit Northern Sea Route to Baltic Sea

Mike Schuler
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September 5, 2018

MV Viikki. Photo: ESL Shipping

Finnish shipping company ESL Shipping will send its two new eco-friendly bulk carriers through the Northern Sea Route to Baltic Sea for their maiden voyage from the shipyard.

The two vessels, named Vikki and Haaga, are described as the world’s most eco-friend bulk carriers. Vikki was delivered this week from the Jinling shipyard in Nanjing, China, following delivery of Haaga on August 20. The two 160-meter, 25,000 dwt  ice-class vessels are powered by LNG, emitting 50 percent less carbon dioxide than the previous generation of vessels, according to ESL. 

ESL Shipping is owned by Aspo Plc.

Like its sister ship Haaga, Viikki will first head from the shipyard to Japan, from where it will arrive fully laden at the Baltic Sea approximately at the end of October.

The plan is that both vessels will travel to the Baltic Sea via the Northern Sea Route, shortening travel time by nearly three weeks compared to going through the Panama Canal.

“These new, next-generation vessels are a good example of how Aspo as a responsible owner is aiming to help mitigate climate change. Their passage via the Northern Sea Route is a concrete indication of the impact of climate change – but also of new business opportunities. Only a handful of merchant vessels traveling the world’s seas are ice-strengthened. All 50 ESL Shipping vessels are heavily ice-strengthened. What is more, we have excellent special expertise in operating in the Arctic”, says Aki Ojanen, CEO of Aspo Plc and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ESL Shipping.

The newbuilding project is part of the Bothnia Bulk project, which is partly funded by the EU. The two ships will operate year-round in the northern Baltic Sea between the ports of Luleå, Oxelösund and Raahe.

The vessels have been designed by Deltamarin in Finland, and European equipment suppliers have provided roughly 60 percent of all vessel systems.

Last month, Maersk Line revealed a similar plan to send one of its newbuild ice-class containerships through the Northern Sea Route as part of a one-off test run. The vessel, named Venta Maersk, is in the midst of that journey as we speak. 

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