Centre for High North Logistics (CHNL)

CHNL promotes economically and environmentally sustainable, reliable and innovative transport and logistics solutions in the High North.

  • CHNL was established in 2009 as a business foundation (stiftelse), managed by a director and a board of directors, in order to create an international knowledge hub on Arctic transportation and logistics for businesses, research institutions and public authorities. 

    The goal was that CHNL would be a bridge between academia and the business community and a key mediator of knowledge of transportation and logistics opportunities and challenges in the Arctic. 

    The initial Barents 2020 project to establish CHNL was part of the Global Maritime Knowledge Hub (GMKH) initiative launched by the Oslo Maritime Network and the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association in 2008. 

    The purpose of GMKH was to increase maritime research and education as well as exploit synergies between the various technological and economic maritime disciplines. 

    The main funding for CHNL between 2009 and 2015 came from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tschudi Shipping Company, with additional contributions from DNV GL, Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, and Nord University.

    CHNL became a university center at the Nord University Business School in Bodø in 2016 with yearly contribution from the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. The centre is managed by a director and a board of directors representing the business and academic community.

  • Goals

    • CHNL will be the leading academic center for information and research on Arctic transportation and logistics and the preferred source of information for businesses and the industry.
    • CHNL will strengthen research and educational cooperation with leading Norwegian and international research and educational institutions on Arctic transport and logistics.
    • CHNL will strengthen its network and cooperation through strategic partnerships with key Norwegian and international research organizations, NGOs and businesses. 
    • CHNL will provide short courses and seminars for national and international business on Arctic transport and logistics operations and infrastructure development, opportunities and challenges, to promote knowledge sharing and contribute to value creation.


    • Conduct research, manage projects and case studies
    • Publication of books, book chapters, proceedings, articles in journals and magazines
    • Organisation of conferences, workshops, short courses and seminars 
    • Student advising, assisting other researchers, lecturing, and curriculum development
    • Networking and cooperation with Norwegian and foreign universities and research organizations (e.g. from Russia, US Alaska, Canada, South-Korea, Japan, China etc.)
    • Provide information and critical data to commercial shipping and support industries on current transport and logistics operations in the Arctic and future development.
  • Ship Traffic Analysis 

    Main research question: What characterizes current shipping activity along the Eurasian Arctic coast and which changes are likely to occur by 2030?​

    The geographic area of the study spans from the Barents Sea off the coast of Norway and along Russia's Northern Sea Route (NSR) to the Bering Sea.

    The study will

    • ​Collect satellite AIS data and other statistical data on ship traffic. 
    • Predict how the shipping traffic will develop in the future. Maritime transport analyzed includes Russian cabotage, destination and international transit traffic between NE Asian and NW European markets.

      Commercial shipping companies, offshore service companies, government authorities and several other stakeholders need this information to be able to assess their possible future role in transportation and logistics infrastructure development in the Eurasian Arctic, and regional social-economic development. Ship traffic data is also needed for SAR, emergency services and oil spill preparedness and response. 

    Operational Conditions for Shipping in Arctic Waters 

    Main research question: How do vessels’ operational conditions and sailing speed differ throughout the year in the Arctic based on vessels’ ice-classes and icebreaker assistance, and how do sea ice characteristics and different weather conditions impact vessels operations? 

    Additional questions include: 

    • ​What are likely vessels’ operational conditions for year-round sailing in the eastern part of the NSR? 
    • What navigational support technologies are needed to further improve the development of navigation in the High North? 
    • What type of training shall crew undergo to operate under extreme conditions in the Arctic? 
    • How can mandatory requirements of the Polar Code be implemented and enforced in the Arctic?

      The main purpose of this research theme is to create knowledge about critical navigational challenges (risks) for maritime operations in the High North and how shipping companies can prepare and mitigate those challenges. ​

    Eurasian Arctic Transportation and Logistics Infrastructure 

    Main research question: What characterizes existing transport infrastructure along the Eurasian Arctic coast and what infrastructure development and long-term investments are likely to be associated with increased vessel traffic to 2030? 

    The research will assess existing and proposed maritime infrastructure development in the Eurasian Arctic, including project-specific logistics infrastructure of energy and mineral development projects.

    The research will also assess the importance of inter-connecting transport infrastructures of river transport, railways, roadways, aviation, and pipelines, and assess which future changes (drivers) require the development of the transportation routes in the Arctic.

    The research aims at identifying the structural and logistics components of a future Arctic transportation and logistics system. Development of interactive Arctic transportation infrastructure maps, displaying several GIS mapping layers will provide all Arctic stakeholders, including Arctic businesses and investors, with a better understanding of both existing maritime infrastructure and future infrastructure needs based on predicted increased shipping activity.  

    Emerging Logistics Concepts 

    Main research question: How can new emerging logistics concepts such as blockchain and crowd shipping be used in the Arctic to optimize a future Arctic transportation and logistics system? 

    With special focus on logistics systems in the High North and the implications for its current and future development, this thematic area focuses on new concepts in logistics, combined with new strategies to organize freight flows in ports and airports and assess how new innovative technologies will impact freight transport, greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental footprint.  

    Research within this theme will focus on how digitization of the whole supply chain and logistics concepts such as the Physical Internet and new disruptive technologies such as Blockchain, Shipping 4.0 and Industry 4.0, vehicle automation and truck platooning can be utilized to optimize transport and logistics operations. 

    The research also assesses how new business models, such as 'Crowd Shipping' and the ‘Circular Economy’ models will have an impact on regional and global freight transport, its optimization and its environmental footprint. 

    Linkages between Regional Development and Transport and Logistics Systems

    Main research question: Which Arctic regions and which types of businesses will benefit the most from suggested infrastructure development, and what would be the impact of connecting sparsely populated area in the Arctic with global value chains?  

    The focus of this theme is to investigate the relationship between reliable logistics and transport systems and its effects on regional social-economic development in the High North. 

    Research activities include the analysis of connections between transportation and logistics needs and business development and value-creation; and how to connect these regions with global value chains, which will create a demand for physical flows of goods and services. 
    How can river transport along the Russian Rivers and better railway connections promote industrial development and unlock the resource and industrial potential of Siberia? 

    The research will also look at how indigenous and other populations living along the Arctic Coast have created resilient societies with a long history of sustainable food production and other local products. How can these populations get their high value products to the market and increase their share in the overall value chain, connect to innovation initiatives and new Arctic transportation routes?

    Research will develop knowledge to support evidence-based policy in relation to infrastructure development in the High North and connecting the research results with users of this knowledge (e.g., regional authorities, national authorities).  

    Arctic Investments and Financing Mechanisms 

    Main research question: What are the business and investment opportunities associated with transportation infrastructure development and increased vessel traffic in the Eurasian Arctic; and what are the investment risks? 

    The research will assess the role private companies, public authorities, and public-private partnerships play in developing Arctic transportation routes and needed logistics infrastructure. 

    How will infrastructure investments and increased connectivity improve the business environment and make Arctic businesses more profitable and competitive? How can these investments promote regional economic development and be a catalyst of local value creation in the Eurasian Arctic? 

    To strengthen international business cooperation and private investments in the Arctic, international companies need more information about the current business environment in the Eurasian Arctic region, including various operational challenges and ways to overcome these challenges. This includes climate and environmental challenges, transport and logistical challenges, communication challenges, and information on legal and regulatory framework and state requirements.

    Cargo Base for Arctic Transport 

    Main research question: What types of cargo and cargo volumes could be transported on a sustainable basis via the NSR between markets in NE Asia and NW Europe by 2030? 

    The study will identify cargo types and volumes for future sustainable development of the Arctic routes. Research within this theme will tackle questions such as “what is the likely cargo demand for the NSR and market potential?” Which cargo-owners will create the greatest demand for the route at present and in the future?” 

    Arctic Transshipment Hubs  

    Main research question: What makes a port an important Arctic transshipment hub; and what is the socio-economic significance of Eurasian Arctic transshipment hubs for future development of shipping in the Arctic and in promoting regional and industrial development?
    Transshipment hubs in the northern latitudes could add a new dimension to global trade and be a catalyst for increased regional and industrial development in the High North.

    Increased transshipment simplifies the transport network allowing it to deal with increased volume resulting in reduced shipping costs. Such hubs could provide cargo storage facilities and various port and industrial services for shipping in the Eurasian Arctic. 

    The research will analyse which market conditions and infrastructure and logistics system is required to develop efficient transshipment hubs in the Arctic. 

    The research will also analyse the significance of strategic location and connectivity, natural conditions, storage and port services, overall design criteria and infrastructure components of an innovative Arctic transshipment hub, including both onshore and offshore infrastructure components. 

    Container and Multi-Purpose Vessel Shipping in the Arctic  

    Main research question: What will make year-round container and general cargo shipping both technically and economically viable via the NSR between markets in NE Asia and NW Europe; and what type of transport and logistics system needs to be built for that to be possible?
    High ice-class Arctic shuttles would sail between two Arctic transshipment hubs on a year-round basis with or without icebreaker assistance. Non-ice-strengthened feeder vessels would then deliver cargo both to and from the hubs to final destinations. This will fully utilize specialized high-ice class Arctic vessels in the most economically efficient way, as these Arctic shuttles are only used on Arctic voyages.

    Part of the research will also evaluate the possibilities of multi-purpose vessels transporting general cargo and containers to and from the Far East to Sabetta and Arkhangelsk/Murmansk/Kirkenes; and export of metal/ore resources from Northern Norway and Siberia to the Far East. These transport routes will also consider inter-modal connections to river vessels and railways. 

    Renewable and Hybrid Energy Systems in the Arctic  

    Main research question: What role will renewable and hybrid (conventional + alternative) energy sources and systems play in future development of the Eurasian Arctic transportation and logistics system?
    Oil and natural gas exploitation and transport is the core activity of current maritime traffic in the Arctic. Additionally, most regions in the Arctic (excluding northern Scandinavia) depend on oil and gas for all their energy needs. Isolated Arctic communities with no connection to national grids rely on diesel generators for their energy needs.

    But the Arctic region does have renewable energy potential. This potential has been assessed, for example in the US Alaska (Alaska Renewable Energy Atlas project) and similar assessment is underway in Russia. 

    How can these renewable energy and alternative/hybrid sources and systems be better integrated to the future transportation and logistics system being developed in the Arctic?  

    Reducing the Environmental Impacts of Arctic Shipping

    The main research question: What is the current and projected local and global environmental impacts of Arctic shipping and how can this impact be mitigated by use of innovative technologies and new fuel sources? 
    CHNL’s core mission is to contribute to environmentally sustainable transport solutions. The shipping industry is currently planning for the IMO's 2020 vessels’ emission regulations and perhaps zero emissions by 2040. 

    The green shift will require new technology and new logistical solutions. Research within this theme will help assess the environmental impacts of Arctic shipping and finding innovative ways to reduce this impact.

    This will tie directly into green technologies and green shipping, the Polar Code, the IMO emission regulations and AC PAME work on safeguarding the Arctic marine environment. 

    Links between the Priority Research Areas 

    The priority research areas are interrelated, in the sense that research results in one focus area will complement knowledge in a related area(s). 

    This means that it is possible that publications of research results as well as future projects contribute to more than one thematic area.
    A central thematic priority area is “Arctic transport and logistics infrastructure”, which relates to all the other priority areas directly or indirectly.  

Ansatte ved CHNL
CHNL staff members