The first salmon train from Arctic Norway to China will soon be ready for departure

A new technology will keep the fish fresh during the 10-day journey from Narvik to Xi'an.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - December 19, 2019
Norway’s northernmost railway cargo station is Narvik with a line crossing over the mountain to Sweden. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

The first cargo train loaded with Norwegian salmon is expected to depart Narvik for China early next year, Jernbanemagasinet reports.

Thanks to new transport technology, the salmon will still be fresh when it arrives in Xi’an about 10 days after leaving Narvik.

Narvik is the northernmost cargo railway station on the coast to the Norwegian Sea, with a line originally built for iron-ore transport from Kiruna in northernmost Sweden.

In Haparanda, on Sweden’s border to Finland, the containers will be transferred over to Finnish wagons, because the two countries have different track width. From Finland the salmon cargo will cross into Russia from Kouvola and then follow the established rail cargo route via St. Petersburg and Moscow into Kazakhstan and eastbound to China, the portal iLaks informs.

The San Francisco-based company BluWrap has developed new transport means to keep the salmon fresh for longer periods than under normal transport where the fish is stored on ice.

The company uses fuel cells to reduce and monitor oxygen during transport. “It’s made from cardboard and use no ice or Styrofoam,” said Ola Strand, CEO of BluWrap interviewed by SalmonBusiness.

BlueWrap says it is by controlling oxygen and temperature salmon are kept fresh over longer periods.

Norway has a strong focus on developing the so-called blue economy, including giving a boost to aquaculture. By 2030, the goal is to increase seafood export to five times the amount today. The new salmon cargo train from Narvik to China opens a new export corridor to reach that goal.