Rosatom, DP World join forces to design ice-class container ships for Northern Sea Route – paper

By griffith - July 23, 2021

MOSCOW. July 23 (Interfax) – Russian state corporation Rosatom and Arab port operator DP World will sign an agreement on Friday to jointly work out pilot container shipments as part of the Northern Sea Transit Corridor project, national daily Kommersant reported.

The partners will begin designing ice-class container ships in 2021. Their builder will be selected in a tender. The first transit shipment is expected in 2025.

The paper reported industry sources as saying that eight container ships might be built, possibly at shipyards in China or South Korea.

Rosatom and DP World have been holding negotiations for some time, with the first reports of them emerging more than a year ago. At that time, DP World CEO Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said at a meeting of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) Public Council that Arctic container ships need to be built to develop transit shipments through the NSR.

He said one of the advantages of the NSR over the route through the Suez Canal is that the former passes through the territory of just one country, Russia, and also there is no risk of piracy.

The main problem for attracting container shipments to the NSR is that global container lines do not intend to stop using the southern route. Therefore, it is necessary to create an operator for container shipments through the NSR, the sultan said, recommending that Rosatom build ice-class container ships. Building vessels is very important, he added.

Rosatom hopes to attract foreign partners to develop transit cargo shipments along the NSR, the state corporation’s special representative for Arctic development, Vladimir Panov said in an interview with Interfax in May.