The Nordic Orion left Vancouver on Sept. 17 en route to Finland on a shortcut that saved the owners nearly $200,000 in costs and trimmed about 1,000 nautical miles off the voyage.
The ship was also able to carry about 25 percent more coal since the depth of the Panama Canal, through which it normally would have passed, is too shallow for such a bulky load.
Despite this past summer’s more limited Arctic sea ice melt, a growing number of shippers are looking to use the Northwest Passage in the years ahead as the Arctic becomes more ice-free.
Edward Coll, CEO of Bulk Partners, which owns the vessel, said that beyond saving money with this single shipment, it was about making history.
“We would have done it just to do it, to pioneer it,” said Coll.
The ship was said to have encountered only one small choke point during its trip across Arctic Canada, around Baffin Island.
But the captain said the most dangerous portion of the voyage was off the western coast of Greenland, where icebergs littered the ocean.
Photos courtesy of Nordic Bulk Partners