Struggling with evolution of Arctic freight, Soviet-era shipping company now near bankruptcy

The Murmansk Shipping Company, once an Arctic shipping powerhouse, is inching closer to bankruptcy. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Gazpromneft Marine Bunker, a subsidiary of oil company Gazprom Neft, files a bankruptcy petition against the once very powerful regional company.

The company that previously accounted for a lion’s share of goods shipped throughout Russian Arctic waters faces potential grim prospects as a powerful oil company this week filed a bankruptcy petition in the Murmansk Arbitration Court.

Gazpromneft Marine Bunker has a demand of 8,3 million rubles (€110.000), Interfax reports. The subsidiary of Gazprom Neft supplies marine fuel and oils for sea and river vessels and is well represented in the Russian Arctic region.

Privatized after fall of Soviet Union

The Murmansk Shipping Company (MSCO) today has a fleet of at least 20 vessels, most of them dry cargo ships. The company was established in 1939 and privatized in 1993. Until 2005, it operated the Russian fleet of nuclear icebreakers.

The company’s market share in Arctic shipping has gradually decreased as several key natural resource developers in the region either have developed their own ice-class vessels or turned to other shipping companies.

The claim from the Gazpromneft Marine Bunker is not the first against the Murmansk company. In April this year, GAC Shipping and Logistics took the MSCO to court over another multi-million ruble debts, reports. The shipping company was also last year in a corporate conflict with another regional company, the Arctic Mining Company.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada ill-prepared for Arctic shipping boom, G7 sustainability summit hears, Eye on the Arctic

China: China opens bids for its first nuclear-powered icebreaker, The Independent Barents Observer

Finland: US icebreaker investment could bring 2 billions euro windfall to Finland, Yle News

Norway: Norway to build three large Coast Guard ships for Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Novatek creates shipping company to export Arctic gas under Russian flag, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: World maritime body approves first Arctic ship routing measures, Radio Canada International

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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