One of the challenges related to the design of arctic cargo ships is that their transport capacity is dependent on a number of arctic specific design parameters (e.g., ice conditions and the availability of icebreaker support) in which there typically is a significant level of uncertainty and stochasticity. This paper addresses that challenge by presenting a design method that deals with the parameter uncertainty by integrating method of risk assessment in to the design process, i.e., by utilising the principles of Risk-Based Design (RBD). In order to obtain a holistic approach, the design method treats a ship as an arctic sea transport system that might include multiple ships, icebreakers, and port-based facilities such as cargo storages. Using the method it is possible to design an arctic sea transport system that provides a desired level of operational reliability. This provides the means to minimise costs and financial losses due to over- or undercapacity, and thereby to improve the resource-efficiency of the system as a whole.

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