Maersk Line’s ice-class ship Venta Maersk called the port of Saint Petersburg, Russia, on September 28, completing a trial passage of the Northern Sea Route.
The company’s new 3,596 TEU Baltic feeder embarked on its voyage on August 22, 2018 in the port of Vladivostok, Russia. The route included further stops in Vostochny Stevedoring Company and Busan, before passing through Bering Strait on September 6, 2018 on its way to Bremerhaven. The units arrived in Saint Petersburg after 37 days.
“The trial allowed us to gain exceptional operational experience, test vessel systems, crew capabilities and the functionality of the shore based support setup,” Palle Laursen, Chief Technical Officer at Maersk, said.
Maersk Line said that the voyage went according to plan and without specific incidents, adding that the vessel and all systems aboard performed well in the unfamiliar environment. While the passage is feasible around this time of the year and marked by a lack of obstructive ice, ice conditions in the East Siberian Sea required assistance by icebreakers.
Maersk underlines that this was a one-off trial designed to gain operational experience in a new area and to test vessel systems.
“Currently, we do not see the Northern Sea Route as a viable commercial alternative to existing east-west routes. In general, we plan new services according to trading patterns, population centres and our customers demand,” Laursen added.