Russia’s nuclear agency sets out to create 55-strong ice-class boxship fleet

Russia’s Rosatom Group has outlined how it intends to give the Suez Canal a run for its money, revealing it is in talks with Moscow-headquartered VTB Bank over a $7bn loan to help fund the acquisition of 55 ice-class boxships.

Also known as the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation, Rosatom is following the heed of President Vladimir Putin in trying to turn the Northern Sea Route into a viable alternative to the Suez for shipments between Asia and Europe. The Russian president has spoken repeatedly in recent years about ramping the volumes of cargo shipped through Arctic waters.

Subsidiary Rosatomflot operates Russia’s four nuclear icebreakers, one nuclear-powered cargo vessel and a number of other icebreakers and service vessels.

Last year Rosatom was placed in charge of shipping, security, and infrastructure on the Northern Sea Route – ahead of the Ministry of Transport.

Russian plans to tranship cargoes through the delicate northern environment come at a time where a host of the world’s top liners have publicly stated they will not send any of their vessels through Arctic waters.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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