Bloomberg ship-tracking data shows Fedor Litke was loaded on June 3 and is en route in the first observed voyage to Asia this year.
Western energy sanctions have pushed Russia to sail tankers east through the Arctic Circle toward China -- a shipping lane dubbed the 'Arctic Silk Road.' This route is reshaping global energy flows as it now takes half the time for a tanker from Russia to arrive in Asia instead of taking the conventional route through the Suez Canal.
Even before the war in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions on Moscow, trade flows were already in the beginning stages of shifting toward the NSR.
In 2017, we noted, "transit routes through the Arctic will assume a certain level of importance vis-à-vis the global geopolitics of Russia and China."
Visual Capitalist Nicholas LePan published a map of all the critical routes and resources in the Arctic in 2019.
In early 2020, we detailed how Russia, owner of the world's largest fleet of icebreakers, can plow through Arctic waters, clearing the way for vessels to traverse the northern routes.
And we recently cited Minister of National Resources and Environment Dmitry Kobylkin, who said cargo shipping in Russia's northernmost territorial waters would top 80MM tons as early as 2024.
Global trade flows are shifting as a multi-polar world emerges. Western sanctions have so far failed to cripple Moscow as energy flows are being rerouted from Europe to now Asia.