Historic sea route opens through the Arctic to China
Tschudi Shipping Company and Prominvest SA were two of the pioneers for initiating the first non-Russian commercial shipment through the Arctic to China. “MV Nordic Barents”, an ice-class 1A ship successfully transported a cargo of iron ore from Sydvaranger Gruve, Kirkenes to China.
What makes it a historical event for the shipping industry, is that it is the first time a non-Russian ship, with a non-Russian cargo, loaded in a non-Russian port and destined for a non-Russian port has used this route. Behind this historical Northern Sea Route voyage was a strong Nordic-Russian partnership comprising of Tschudi Shipping Company, Tschudi Arctic Transit, Danish Nordic Bulk Carriers and Russian Rosatomflot.
This voyage materialised through a very close cooperation between these parties and not least through the involvement of the Russian/Swiss trader Prominvest who chartered the vessel, bought the cargo from Sydvaranger Gruve and delivered it to their customers in China.
The Northern Sea Route to China shortens the distance of traditional shipping routes through the Suez Canal by more than a third. This new route has the potential to generate significant savings for both cargo and shipowners with reduced fuel consumption, transportation time and CO2 emission. The fuel savings alone, with a reduced voyage time of approx. 15 days, are substantial.
Russia has previously used the Northern Sea Route for internal transport however in the past the complete sea route to Asia has not been economically viable. The decisive factors for implementing this new route have been: the decline of ice in the Arctic Ocean, the reduced cost of sailing the entire voyage, the availability of the required vessels combined with competitive cargo prices.
During a period of 2-4 months a year, companies in the normally disadvantaged remote regions of Northern Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula (even North West Europe) now have a freight advantage to the fast growing markets in the Far East.