Russia’s Northern Sea Route saw 71 ships transport just under 1.4 million tons of cargo in 2013. This was up 50 per cent over the previous season, but Arctic sea ice also recovered by approximately 30 per cent compared to its record low of 2012. Cargo volume moving east was double that moving west last year, while tankers continued to be the largest users of the route, with 31 moving a total of 900,000 tonnes of petroleum product.
Although the Northwest passage above Canada saw only one loaded ship transit last year, the operator of that vessel, Denmark’s Nordic Bulk Carriers, has disclosed it is in discussions with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans to increase shipments over the route this summer, although no firm plans can be made until much closer to the actual shipping season. JS