Maersk Container Ship Embarks on Historic Arctic Transit

Caralb News   •   August 22, 2018

Danish company Maersk, the world’s largest operator of container shipping, is about to send the first-ever container ship through the Arctic along Russia’s Northern Sea Route. While the route has seen rising traffic to transport oil and natural gas in recent years, the voyage of the Venta Maersk, a medium-sized container ship capable of carrying nearly 3,600 containers, will be an industry first.

A Maersk representative involved in the project who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed that the Venta Maersk will be sailing via the Northern Sea Route (NSR) from the Far East. The vessel is slated to depart from Vladivostok this week heading for Saint Petersburg carrying a load of frozen fish. The company has yet to reveal the specifics of this voyage or its general plans for Arctic shipping going forward. Such details are expected after the vessel arrives in Europe in mid-September, company sources revealed.

Illustration of a Maersk Arc4 ice-class container ship sailing through ice on the Northern Sea Route. (Source: Photos courtesy of Rosatomflot and Kwak Dongmin. Composition courtesy of the author. ) by High Nort News

It remains to be seen what this voyage means in terms of further developing shipping on the Arctic route and if container shipping can become viable on this hitherto niche trade route. “This is not the large container ship traffic that will change global shipping, once it becomes commonplace through the Northern Sea Route. But it is another small step in that direction,” explains Michael Byers, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia.

By AV MALTE HUMPERT from High Nort News.

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