The first ships have arrived at the port of Umeå via the Northeast Passage – have served several weeks

In August 2017, the Russian tanker Cristophe de Margerie was the first commercial vessel to travel through the Northeast Passage without an icebreaker. Global warming and declining ice in the Arctic have opened up economic potential for the Northeast Passage as a sea route for merchant and freighters.

Last year, the second smallest ice cover ever measured in the Arctic was measured, according to a report from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, and this has contributed to more shipping companies choosing the route through the Arctic.

From thousands of tons to millions

Transporting goods from Asia via ship to Sweden has traditionally meant a long journey via the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. But that is changing.

The journey will be several weeks shorter if the ships travel via the Northeast Passage instead of via the Suez Passage. Photo: SVT Graphics

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, it has become increasingly common to travel via the so-called Northeast Passage above Russia and below the North Pole. The Northeast Passage is usually open to traffic from mid-August to mid-October.

And according to calculations, the amount of goods via the Northeast Passage can increase enormously within just a few years.

– Yes, in 2013 39 thousand tons of goods passed that way, but according to a Russian forecast it could be 30 million tons in 2030. But we will expand the port for 1.4 billion so we will have large capacity in the future, says port manager Patrik Rudolsson .

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