How ABB technology is supporting a sustainable future for Arctic shipping

High in the Arctic Circle lies the Northern Sea Route, one of the planet’s vital shipping arteries. Despite passing through waters which are mostly frozen, the route connects east and west, allowing cargo to be transferred from northern Europe to north-east Asia via the Bering Strait.

It’s a 30-percent faster passage than the southern Europe-Asia alternative via the Suez Canal and is attractive to shipping companies thanks to the fuel and emission savings it offers. But the increased vessel traffic through the route needs to take into consideration the delicate Arctic ecosystem that surrounds it.

This is why it is paramount that vessels operating in the Northern Sea Route are fitted with the most sustainable technologies. Sovcomflot, a leader in energy shipping, operates the world’s largest ice-class fleet powered by ABB’s Azipod® electric propulsion, which cuts fuel consumption while negating the need for separate ice-breaking ships in Arctic seas frozen with up to 2.1m of ice.

Ships in the (Polar) night – sustainable Arctic shipping with ABB's Azipod®

And to assist vessels on their extreme voyages, ABB has opened a dedicated Marine Service Center in the northerly Russian port town of Murmansk, offering 24/7 support. Sovcomflot’s vessels are among over 1,000 ships connected to ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operation Centers worldwide from where ABB experts monitor operational shipboard systems, coordinate equipment diagnostics and offer predictive maintenance services.

Speaking about digitally connected ships operating in remote areas, Jyri Jusslin, Global Head of Service, ABB Marine and Ports, said: “We can support them. We can spot problems even before the crew, so we can say: "Have a look at this and let’s fix it before it stops your operation.”

Vessels equipped with ABB’s electric, digital and connected solutions are helping to ensure that one of the world’s most precious – though arduous – supply routes can continue to operate sustainably.

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