The world’s greatest transport firm is about to check out a brand new route.
Denmark’s Maersk ( mentioned Tuesday it plans to ship the primary container ship from East Asia to Europe by way of the Arctic Ocean. )
The newly constructed Venta Maersk is ready to depart the Russian port of Vladivostok later this month. It can sail via the Bering Strait and excessive of Russia en path to St. Petersburg, taking what is called the Northern Sea Route.
“It is a trial designed to discover an unknown route for container transport and to gather scientific knowledge,” Maersk mentioned in a press release. “At the moment, we don’t see the Northern Sea Route as a substitute for our regular routes.”
The corporate mentioned the Venta Maersk, which might carry roughly three,600 containers, is designed to face up to waters as chilly as minus 25 levels Celsius (minus 77 levels Fahrenheit). It can transport a cargo of products together with frozen fish on the trial voyage, after which will probably be deployed in Europe’s Baltic Sea.
The ship’s crew of 26 have been given particular coaching to face up to the cruel circumstances.
Maersk mentioned that it at present had no plans to launch business providers on the route, which is just viable as transport lane for about three months yearly. The corporate mentioned it will additionally must put money into extra vessels able to dealing with Arctic circumstances.
The view of the Arctic instead transport route has been supported by meteorological fashions that predict that the polar area might be ice-free for no less than a part of the yr as early as the center of this century.
Thinning ice might open new paths for international commerce, doubtlessly saving corporations cash in contrast with longer journeys by way of extra southerly routes.
Maersk’s state-owned Chinese language rival Cosco ( has been testing the Arctic route for a number of years with a sequence of voyages by multipurpose cargo ships carrying items similar to wind turbine gear. However Maersk mentioned its journey would be the first by a specialised container vessel. )
An alternative choice to the Suez Canal?
Large ships making their means throughout the highest of the world sometimes should be accompanied by nuclear-powered Russian icebreakers to plow via patches of six-foot-thick ice.
The Northern Sea Route has been touted by some specialists as a potential different to Egypt’s Suez Canal as a serious international transport artery between Asia and Europe.
Final yr, a Russian tanker carrying pure gasoline grew to become the primary service provider ship to sail throughout the Arctic with out the assistance of an icebreaker, ending the journey in document time.
The ship, the Christophe de Margerie, traveled from Norway to South Korea in 19 days, about 30% faster than the common route via the Suez Canal.
Maersk mentioned it wasn’t but clear how lengthy its container ship would take to cross the Arctic.
CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First printed August 21, 2018: 7:08 AM ET