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Cargo record on Northern Sea Route

Cargo transport between Asia and Europe on the Northern Sea Route has reached the one million tons milestone. So far 35 vessels have taken the Arctic shortcut between the continents.

As BarentsObserver predicted, the amount of cargo transported along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) this summer broke the previous record after a slow start earlier in the season. 

The total cargo transported on the NSR is already almost 200 000 tons more than in last year’s season, updated numbers from Rosatomflot show.  35 vessels have transported a total of 1 022 577 tons of different goods between Europe and Asia so far, and the season is not yet over.

In 2011 34 vessels transported a total of 820 789 tons during the five months the route was open.

The sailing season can still last another month. In 2011 the last vessel reached the Pacific Ocean on November 18, marking the longest sailing season on the Northern Sea Route ever.

This year the ice conditions in the Arctic are even more in favor of the shipping companies, with ice levels shrinking to unprecedented low levels. 

19 of the vessels sailed from West to East, 16 in the opposite direction. 20 vessels transported liquid cargo, four transported bulk and one transported fish. Five vessels sailed in ballast while five others sailed the in so-called ‘repositioning ballast’. Among these were the Chinese icebreaker “Xuelong”

Petroleum products constitute the largest cargo group on the NSR in 2012. A total of 590 000 tons of diesel fuel, gas condensate, jet fuel and lubricants were transported on 20 vessels. The largest amount to be sent in one shipment was 66 462 tons of jet fuel, delivered from Yosu in South Korea to Porvoo in Finland on the Norwegian tanker “Marika”.

Iron ore was transported from Murmansk to China four times this summer. The Danish shipping company Nordic Bulk Carriers’ two vessels “Nordic Odyssey” and “Nordic Orion” brought a total of 261 903 tons or iron ore from Murmansk to Huanghua. 

Only once has the NSR been used for transportation of fish this summer. That was the reefer Skyfrost that brought 8265 tons of frozen fish from Kamchatka to St.Petersburg.  

The sailing season is not yet over. Three vessels are currently on their way from Europe to Asia, while one vessel is sailing in the opposite direction, the data from Rosatomflot reads.

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