Royal Arctic Line

Royal Arctic Line A/S
Industry Transport
Founded 1993
Headquarters Nuuk, Greenland
Area served
Key people
Jens Andersen (CEO)
Products Coastal freight
Revenue DKK 897 million
DKK 104 million
DKK 73 million
Number of employees
Subsidiaries Royal Arctic Bygdeservice A/S
Royal Arctic Logistics A/S
Arctic Base Supply A/S (50%)
Royal Arctic Tankers A/S (50%)
Arctic Umiaq Line A/S (50%)
Ejendomsselskabet Suliffik A/S (30.3%)
Footnotes / references

Royal Arctic Line A/S (RAL) or Royal Arctic is a seabourne freight company in Greenland, wholly owned by the Greenland Home Rule Government. It was formed in 1993[2] and is headquartered in Nuuk.[1]


Royal Arctic Line A/S was spun off as a company separate from the Greenlandic conglomerate KNI in 1993. Like many Greenlandic companies, its operations derive from and carry on the traditions of the earlier Royal Greenland Trading Department.


The company has a monopoly on all sea transport of cargo to, from, and within Greenland. Construction materials account for roughly a quarter of shipping to Greenland; fish makes up roughly half of shipping from Greenland; fish and beverages bottled at Nuuk (principally water and beer) account for most shipping within Greenland.[1]

Royal Arctic operates cargo routes among the Greenland settlements and between Nuuk and Aalborg in Denmark[3] and manages 13 harbors in Greenland as well as the Greenlandic base harbour in Aalborg, which serves as the source for all European shipping to the island. Seabourne traffic from North America goes to Reykjavík aboard Eimskip, whence it is carried to Greenland aboard Royal Arctic.[1]

In 2011, government concessions accounted for 76% of the company's income. The Transport Committee newly formed by Greenland Home Rule issued a report stating that liberalisation of the shipping market offers no benefits and the current concession is reasonable. It also began planning with RAL and stakeholders to expand the harbors in Nuuk and Sisimiut.[1]



The supply ship Vestlandia approaches Upernavik in front of an iceberg.

Royal Arctic Linietrafik operates the company's fleet, currently consisting of ten ships six container ships and four "settlement ships" with five more under construction.

The three largest ships the Naja Arctica (782 TEU), Nuka Arctica (782 TEU), and Mary Arctica (588 TEU) are principally used for the Aalborg route. The Irena Arctica (424 TEU), Arina Arctica (283 TEU), and Pajuttaat are used within Greenland and have equipment for unloading in cities without harbors. All these container ships are double-hauled and built with high freeboards and the highest ice ratings: the Mary Arctica has even been chartered for Antarctic service. The settlement ships Angaju Ittuk, Anguteq Ittuk, Aqqaluk Ittuk, and Johanna Kristina are all older and smaller (220320 m³) and used for supplying the smaller ports. In 2011, the ships had an average on-time rate of 72%.[1]

One of the new ships is considered Mary-class and will have a capacity of 606 TEU. Of the four others, two will have 108-TEU and two will have 360-TEU capacity.


Royal Arctic Havneservice operates the company's harbour operations and nearby lighthouses.

Unloading Vestlandia in Upernavik.

Some other towns such Qaanaaq,[4] Ittoqqortoormiit, and Qeqertarsuaq in Greenland and Reykjavík in Iceland are served very infrequently.



Royal Arctic Bygdeservice A/S ("Settlement Service") is a wholly owned subsidiary based in Nuuk. It operates under contract from the Home Rule Government and provides fortnightly supplies to ice-free ports. It subcontracts its weekly passenger duties to Arctic Umiaq. In 2011, Royal Arctic Bygdeservice received a 20-year contract extension. Five new ships have been contracted from P+S Werften in Germany to provide the increased tonnage, financed via loans from a German bank.[1]


Royal Arctic Logistics A/S is a wholly owned subsidiary based in Aalborg. It operates the Aalborg harbour and the forwarding business between Greenland and Denmark. Its subsidiaries include the Aalborg Stevedore Company A/S (67%), Nordjysk Kombi Terminal A/S (50%), and Aalborg Toldoplag A/S (40%).[1]


Royal Arctic Tankers A/S is a wholly owned subsidiary based in Nuuk. It was formerly owned jointly with Herning Shipping A/S, but Herning's interest was bought out in January 2012. It operates the MV Pajuttaat.[1]

Arctic Umiaq

Main article: Arctic Umiaq Line

Arctic Umiaq Line A/S is owned jointly (50% each) with Air Greenland and based in Nuuk. Its 2011 operating loss of DKK 8.1 million was made good via a loss guarantee from Greenland Home Rule, and the company has secured an agreement for further loss guarantees through 2016.[1]

Arctic Base Supply

Arctic Base Supply A/S is owned jointly (50% each) with Danbor and based in Nuuk. It provides logistical support for offshore oil and gas exploration and, in 2011, assisted Cairn Energy in its work at Nuuk and Aasiaat. No activity is expected in 2012, however.[1]

Ejendomsselskabet Suliffik

Ejendomsselskabet Suliffik A/S ("Suliffik Property Co.") is a subsidiary (30.3%)[1] owned jointly with Royal Greenland (30.3%)[5] and TELE Greenland (39%).


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Royal Arctic Line.
  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 RAL. "Annual Report 2011".
  2. RAL. "Royal Arctic Line Ltd.: History" Accessed 3 May 2012.
  3. Sisimiut. "Shipping".
  4. "Første skibe i Qaanaaq". Sermitsiaq (in Danish). 9 July 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
  5. Royal Greenland. "Annual Report 2010/2011". Accessed 2 May 2012.
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