Record number of bulk carriers through Northern Sea Route

THe 75 600 dwt bulk carrier "MV Sanko Odyssey" in 2011 became the largest ever bulk carrrier to sail the Northern Sea Route.

Cargo shipping along the Northern Sea Route is expected to double this year. Nordic Bulk Carriers plan to transport 6-8 shipments of ore from Murmansk to China.


Danish dry bulk shipping company Nordic Bulk Carriers plans to transport six to eight 70,000 tons shipments of iron ore from Murmansk to China this summer. Using NSR instead of the Suez Canal saves 1000 tons of fuel, or $650,000, Director Christian Bonfils says to Bloomberg.

Nordic Bulk Carriers made the first Arctic voyage with a commercial mineral cargo in 2010 when it shipped 41,000 tons of iron ore from Kirkenes, Norway to China. In 2011 the company sent the world’s largest and most modern bulk carrier with ice class in the world “MV Sanko Odyssey” from Murmansk to China.

The Murmansk-to-China journey takes 23 days using the northern route, compared with 43 for the Suez Canal, according to Bonfils. The planned ore cargoes this summer represent an all-time high for shipments via the passage, he said.

Transport via the Northern Sea Route has increased rapidly during the last couple of years, but the cargo amount and numbers of vessels are still small compared to the more traditional routes. 34 vessels sailed the whole Northern Sea Route from Europe to Asia in 2011. The total cargo amounted to 820 000 tons. By comparison, in 2010 only four vessels used the route for transit to another country, and the total amount of cargo was 111 000 tons.

Cargo volumes are expected to double in 2012 compared to the previous year and are expected to reach 1,5 million tons.