Maersk has shared with Port Technology International pictures from its foray along the Northern Sea Route (NSR), which it completed on September 28 after a 37 day trip.
The 3,600 TEU Venta Maersk was accompanied along its journey by an icebreaker as it travelled from Vladivostok to St Petersburg. It is part of a new class of container ship that are built with stronger hulls specifically designed to cope with harsh, Arctic conditions.
It was the latest in a series of attempts by a major carrier to explore the potential of the NSR. In August, an LNG carrier, the Christophe de Margerie, broke the NSR record when it covered 2,360 nautical miles in seven days and 17 hours, and reached its destination in just 18 days.
Find out about the potential, and challenges, of Arctic container shipping by reading a Port Technology technical paper
According to Arctic Bulk, a collaborative venture that researches the potential of Arctic shipping, the NSR has the potential to reduce average transit times from just under 40 days to 19.
At the time the Venta Maersk's voyage was announced in August 2018, the company insisted it did not see the NSR as an alternative to its traditional routes and that the voyage was a one-off.