A vessel made of ice

Ephemeral trophy: with this ship made of ice, the world’s biggest shipping company Maersk paid tribute to DB Schenker’s participation in its inaugural trial passage via the Northern Sea Route. Photo: DB Schenker

The Danish shipping company Maersk made headlines last fall when it dispatched one of its container vessels to sail the Northern Sea Route for the first time. What went under the radar at the time is that DB Schenker was in some way a participant in the this trial passage of the “Venta Maersk,” which led from Vladivostok in the far south-east of Russia to the Baltic Sea port of St. Petersburg. A participant in the sense that there were several containers packed with freight for the logistics services provider on board. Something that Maersk acknowledged, in appropriate style, some time later: with a ship made of ice.


Until recently, the Northern Sea Route along the Russian coast was considered to be viable only with the use of icebreakers. Maersk had embarked on this unique “expedition” for the time being – carried out subject to the highest security measures and in coordination with the Russian authorities – after the unusually warm summer of last year. The container ship reached its destination after 37 days. This is considerably less than the customary route through the Suez Canal would have taken.