Second shipment of fish via Russia’s Northern Sea Route cancelled

The Sevmorput nuclear cargo ship, seen here at port in Murmansk, northwest Russia. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Sailing fish from the Far East via the Northern Sea Route to St. Petersburg on board the nuclear-powered container vessel Sevmorput turned out to be less profitable than expected.

Two voyages were planned for this autumn. Sailing from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, via the port of Nakhodka and all along the north coast of Siberia and around Scandinavia with seafood to St. Petersburg.

The first voyage took place in September with a second planned for late October, early November.

Today, however, the nuclear-powered container ship Sevmorput is at port in Murmansk, according to MarineTraffic. Here, the huge red-painted, only-existing civilian nuclear-powered cargo ship in the world, has been at quay since September 26th.

Asked about the cancellation of the second voyage, Rosatomflot writes in an e-mail to the Barents Observer that the cancellation came on the freighters initiative.

“According to their information, this was due to a decline in export demand from ports in Eastern Europe in July-August 2019 and the resulting substantial freight rate reduction from St. Petersburg to ports in Asia.”

Freight rate is down 20% for this routes, said Rosatomflot with reference to the freighters.

The business model with sailing Sevmorput was based on bringing return-cargo on the eastbound voyage.

The September Northern Sea Route voyage spent less than 20 days from Kamchatka to St. Petersburg and Rosatomflot says it might come more next year.

“Based on the test voyage results, fishing businesses in the Far East reiterated their interest and cost efficiency of fish transports along the Northern Sea Route.”

Rosatomflot hopes to arrange regular cargo voyages with Sevmorput from the Far East to European Russia via the Arctic during later summer and fall navigation seasons.

The September voyage was first time a civilian nuclear-powered ship sailed with cargo along the coast of Scandinavia to St. Petersburg.

Sevmorput is 30-years old and is powered by one reactor of the KLT-40 type, similar to the the reactor onboard the icebreakers Taymyr and Vaygach.

After a 2015 upgrade and safety evaluation, the reactor’s service life was prolonged by 150,000 hours aimed at keeping Sevmorput in operation until 2024.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: The Arctic shipping route no one is talking about, Cryopolitics Blog

China: US sanctions against Chinese shipping company could hurt Russia’s LNG exports, The Independent Barents Observer

Finland: Finland’s aging icebreaker fleet needs modernization, Yle News

Norway: LNG-reloading operations end in Norway’s Arctic waters, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Shipping on Northern Sea Route up 40% this year, The Independent Barents Observer

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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