• A Finnish design of large container ship that can operate in or without ice.

16.04.2021 By: Christian Doepgen

Artikel Nummer: 36048

Return of the northern route?

The cards are being reshuffled after the temporary blockage of the Suez Canal. The Arctic route is generating more interest.


Although many of the major shipping lines have already rejected the idea of transporting goods between Asia and Europe through Arctic waters on the northern route, the option is now nevertheless back on the table – after the Suez Canal incident with the stranded Ever Given. However, even if carriers decide in favour of this option, only a few containerships will be able to sail through Arctic waters, as ice-class hulls are required for the route.


The Finnish ship designer Aker Arctic recently presented a study of an ice-breaking Arctic containership. "No such type of box ship was ever available up until now," according to Luigi Portunato, a naval architect with Aker Arctic. The design presents an 8,000 teu containership that could ope­rate on the northern route both summer and winter.



Turn around and sail stern first through ice

The vessel has an ice-reinforced Arc7 hull, an ice-breaking bow and other design features for use in cold or icy weather. It is a vessel for all seasons and waters. For example, in heavy ice cover, the unit can turn around and sail stern first. In thin ice or in ice-free waters the 300 m vessel sails bow first, of course, like any other ‘normal’ ship. There are therefore no limits to its deployment on the Seven Seas.


The fact that the length of the route between Chinese gateways and Central European ports through the Arctic north of Russia is about 40% shorter than the route through the Suez Canal should also make particular sense to those who are ecology-minded.