The "Sevmorput" at port in Murmansk. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Second shipment of fish via Arctic sea route cancelled

Sailing fish from the Far East via the Northern Sea Route to St. Petersburg on board the nuclear-powered container vessel «Sevmorput» turned out to be less profitable than expected.
October 30, 2019


Two voyages were planned for this autumn. Sailing from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, via the port of Nakhodka and all along the north coast of Siberia and around Scandinavia with seafood to St. Petersburg.

The first voyage took place in September with a second planned for late October, early November.

Today, however, the nuclear-powered container ship «Sevmorput» is at port in Murmansk, according to MarineTraffic. Here, the huge red-painted, only-existing civilian nuclear-powered cargo ship in the world, has been at quay since September 26th.

Asked about the cancellation of the second voyage, Rosatomflot writes in an e-mail to the Barents Observer that the cancellation came on the freighters initiative.

«According to their information, this was due to a decline in export demand from ports in Eastern Europe in July-August 2019 and the resulting substantial freight rate reduction from St. Petersburg to ports in Asia.»

Freight rate is down 20% for this routes, said Rosatomflot with reference to the freighters.


The business model with sailing «Sevmorput» was based on bringing return-cargo on the eastbound voyage.

The September Northern Sea Route voyage spent less than 20 days from Kamchatka to St. Petersburg and Rosatomflot says it might come more next year.

«Based on the test voyage results, fishing businesses in the Far East reiterated their interest and cost efficiency of fish transports along the Northern Sea Route.»


From Kamchatka, the “Sevmorput” will sail take the short-cut via the Arctic en route to St. Petersburg. Map: Barents Observer / Google Earth


Rosatomflot hopes for arranging regular cargo voyages with «Sevmorput» from the Far East to European Russia via the Arctic during later summer and fall navigation seasons.

The September voyage was first time a civilian nuclear-powered ship sailed with cargo along the coast of Scandinavia to St. Petersburg.

«Sevmorput» is 30-years old and is powered by one reactor of the KLT-40 type, similar to the the reactor onboard the icebreakers «Taymyr» and «Vaygach».

After a 2015 upgrade and safety evaluation, the reactor’s service life was prolonged with 150,000 hours aimed at keeping «Sevmorput» in operation until 2024.


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