Climate change is a subject that has received an immense amount of attention from countries and organizations across the globe.
A changing climate has led to a reduction in the amount of sea ice. Maersk analyzed this new environment, looking to expand its operations on the Northern Sea Route, as the route has now become more accessible to ships.
The Venta Maersk, one of the largest ice-class vessels in the world, has a capacity of 36,000 20-foot containers and will collect important scientific data.
The vessel’s initial voyage, carrying South Korean electronics and Russian fish, may be a one-time trial. However, there are strong hopes that this may become a new shipping highway in the future. The vessel started from Vladivostok in Russia, is scheduled to travel through Busan in South Korea, followed by the Bering Strait, and is expected to arrive in St. Petersburg.
The launch of this route is a major step towards cutting the sea transport distance and time between Asian and European countries.
However, this route is not yet being seen as an alternative to regular routes. The route is currently accessible for just three months a year, but there is a high probability of it being accessible throughout the year during the 2020s as new icebreakers are introduced.
Russia is also expanding its railway and road transportation infrastructure in order to cater to needs of Arctic Coast shipping traffic. This new route is not just important for Maersk, but is of economic importance to several countries, including Russia, which considers this route a matter of national pride.