Rosatom to deploy 1st Arctic boxship on Northern Sea Route in 2025

Russian state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom State Corporation revealed plans to send its first Arctic containership to the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in 2025.

Illustration. Courtesy of Rosatom

This was confirmed by Alexander Bryntsev, Director for Shipbuilding and Transit Infrastructure at Rusatom Cargo (part of Rosatom), during the Sakhalin Oil and Gas conference on 29 September 2021.

“We are planning to build a pilot series of containerships with a capacity of 6,000 TEU with high ice class. We are already planning to launch the first vessel in 2025,” he said.

As informed, the company expects to announce a tender for the design of new Arctic container vessels by the end of 2021.

“The preliminary cost of the vessels has not yet been determined — it will depend on the requirements that will be incorporated into the design,” Ekaterina Lyakhova, Rosatom’s director for economics and investment, noted.

In July, Rosatom and UAE-controlled port operator DP World signed a cooperation agreement to jointly develop and design pilot containerships as part of the Northern Marine Transit Corridor (SMTC) project. The project envisages the creation of a container line and hub ports for the transit of cargo along the Northern Sea Route.

Last month, DP World also agreed to jointly study with FESCO, Russia’s largest intermodal transport operator, the technical and economic conditions for developing a new container berth in the far east of Russia.

FESCO and Atomenergoprom JSC, part of Rosatom, intend to create a transport and logistics hub at the Vladivostok Commercial Sea Port.

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Over the past years, Russia has been investing in infrastructure to develop the promising new transport corridor.

Despite a clear competitive advantage this route represents for the shipping sector, several shipping majors including CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and MSC pledged not to use NSR stating environmental concerns.

According to these container shipping companies, the use of NSR would represent a significant danger to the ecosystem due to the possibility of oil pollution, collisions, and accidents.