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.