The ice-class Nordic Orion is making the voyage
Nordic Bulk Carriers A/S (Nordic Bulk) says its ice-class bulker MV Nordic Orion is travelling through the North West Passage from Vancouver, Canada to Finland, becoming the first-ever bulk carrier to do so and saving $80,000 in bunker costs.
Compared with the standard route through the Panama Canal, the Arctic journey is shorter and allows the ship operate at capacity, carrying 25 percent more cargo.
"The North West Passage shortens the distance with 1,000 nautical miles," said company managing director Christian Bonfils.
"This results in a reduction in fuel consumption and transportation time – and it also means lower CO2 emissions.
"The fuel savings alone add up to approximately USD 80,000."
The ship is carrying 73,500 tonnes of coal.
Christian Bonfils, Managing Director, Nordic Bulk
We are very excited about this historic voyage
"We are very excited about this historic voyage, which has been a dream and ambition for several years," Bonfils said.
"We have deep respect towards these important Arctic waters and have planned this voyage in close coordination with Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard to ensure a safe execution."
Nordic Bulk said the passage will be open for an estimated two months per year depending on weather and ice conditions.
The company was also one of the first companies to use the Northern Sea Route (NSR) to transport cargo between northern Europe and China.
Use of the NSR has risen dramatically in recent years as melting ice has made the Arctic more accessible, and growth is predicted to increase even more in the future.