Eimskip and Royal Arctic Line are leading the way to expand trade channels between Iceland, Greenland, North America, Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. The potential is huge, but conditions are challenging. DNV GL is on hand to ensure their new container vessels are fully Polar Code-compliant.
Eimskip and Royal Arctic Line have ambitious plans for the Far North. Eimskip, an Icelandic transportation specialist with a fleet of 22 vessels, and Royal Arctic Line, which has the sole concession for sea cargo transport to and from Greenland, have signed an agreement for three new container ships to boost trade between their nations and key markets to new and prosperous levels.
Diminishing regional ice coverage, married to expanding island infrastructure, has created a platform for opportunity. However, the Arctic’s unique conditions require special consideration, with a need for all new ships operating in the area to comply with the IMO’s recently adopted Polar Code. DNV GL China is ensuring this is the case, working closely with the owners, Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard and the designer to certify these regionally vital new ships.
Eimskip and Royal Arctic Line, which is owned by the Government of Greenland, initially signed the capacity-sharing contract in 2016. The move is being seen as, in the words of Verner Hammeken, CEO of Royal Arctic Line, “an important step for connecting Greenland to global markets.”
Gylfi Sigfússon, President and CEO of Eimskip, illustrates how the vessels will help fast-track developing regional economies: “The port developments in Nuuk (Greenland), Reykjavík and Tórshavn (Faroe Islands) will enable larger vessels to serve in our market area. We assume that the cooperation will increase business activities in the Arctic region, especially between Iceland and Greenland. Activities have, until now, been limited due to lack of frequency and direct services.”
Injecting the added capacity will not only transform the trade routes, but, according to Hammeken, will produce huge knock-on effects for businesses in Greenland. He states: “It creates opportunities for our export customers, allowing goods to be further refined in Greenland before transporting them directly to destinations all over the world in a more efficient way. Customers can also select transportation directly from new market areas instead of having to go only through Denmark. With this, we are looking at a future with more options, and higher efficiency, making it easy to do business with Greenland.”
Doing business may be easy, but the conditions the ships encounter certainly won’t be. To ensure the requisite levels of safety and environmental protection, the IMO has responded to increased levels of Arctic and Antarctic shipping activity with the new Polar Code. From 1 January 2017 all new vessels operating above 60 degrees north (extending down to a demarcated area at 58 degrees north) and below 60 degrees south must comply with the code. Vessels constructed before this date must be compliant by the first intermediate or renewal survey after 1 January 2018.
This means stringent requirements relating to vessel design, construction and equipment, with further operational needs for, amongst other things, crew training, and search and rescue capability. In the very harshest of environments, every element of every vessel must be fit for purpose. This is where class plays a vital role.
DNV GL supports shipowners in their ambitions to achieve compliant operations in polar regions – providing advisory services to help prepare for compliance and statutory certification on behalf of flag administrations.
In February 2016, DNV GL made history by certifying the first ever Polar Code-compliant vessel, working with the Danish Maritime Authority to certify the AHTS Magne Viking, owned by Viking Supply Ships. This established expertise is now in demand worldwide, much to the advantage of owners such as Eimskip and Royal Arctic Line. DNV GL China is working alongside them and China Shipbuilding Trading Company and Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard to oversee the construction of the three 180-metre long, 31-metre-wide vessels, all of which boast capacities of 2,150 TEU. The Ice Class ships, two of which will be owned by Eimskip and one by Royal Arctic Line, are expected to be delivered in April, May and June 2019.
Deltamarin was responsible for the design of the vessels, which it notes are “designed to achieve the best possible key performance indicators, such as container carriage variety, homogenous loading capacity, optimal manoeuvrability and harsh-weather seakeeping performance.”
“We are very proud of this new contract, which further confirms our expertise in cargo ships,” comments Markku Miinala, Director, Sales and Marketing at Deltamarin. “The design is based on Deltamarin’s extensive development work for a new generation of energy-efficient and operationally optimized 1,000 – 3,000 TEU container vessels intended for feeder service.”
Once operational, Eimskip and Royal Arctic Line’s new assets can call on the support and service of DNV GL’s regional network of bases, including its dedicated teams situated in Tórshavn, Reykjavík and Nuuk.
The vessels have the potential to chart a new route forward for regional trade. With DNV GL’s assistance, Eimskip and Royal Arctic Line will be assured that the way ahead is safe, secure and 100 per cent compliant.