Viikki will head from the shipyard to Japan, from where it will arrive fully laden at the Baltic Sea approximately at the end of October. The plan is that both vessels will travel to the Baltic Sea via the Northern Sea Route. This shortens the travel time by nearly three weeks compared to the route via the Panama Canal.
The Northern Sea Route also reduces emissions by more than 40% compared with going through the Panama Canal, but it can only be used for roughly two months in early fall when it is free of ice.
These two vessel are part of the Bothnia Bulk project, partly funded by the EU. Its goal is to modernize the sea route between Luleå, Oxelösund and Raahe to be more eco-friendly. In addition, it aims to reduce environmental emissions at port with the improved availability of shore-side electricity.
In addition to ESL Shipping, Cosco, Novatek, Maersk and Sovcomflot have also opted the Northern Sea Route as an alternative shipping route.
Namely, the Cosco owned cargo ship ‘Tian En’ managed to sail out of the Arctic Circle successfully, completing its maiden voyage within the circle, while Maersk launched the first ever container ship on an Arctic route. In addition, Novatek informed that it shipped its first cargo of LNG from the Yamal LNG project to China via the Northern Sea Route and Christophe de Margerie, the icebreaking LNG carrier owned and operated by Russian Sovcomflot (SCF Group), has crossed the Northern Sea Route in a new record time for a merchant ship without icebreaker support, during July.