Melting Ice Set to Boost Arctic Shipping Traffic
Shipping experts say traffic along the Arctic northern sea route is set to grow more than 30-fold over the next eight years and could account for a quarter of the cargo traffic between Europe and Asia by 2030.
With global warming thawing sea ice, the route, which runs along Russia’s northern coast and links Europe with ports in East Asia, is opening for longer and longer each year. Reuters Newsagency reports Russia is also easing regulations to accommodate more vessels aiming to use the still fledgling route, which can cut travel time between Europe and Asia by up to 40 per cent.
Last September, Arctic sea ice reached its lowest level on record and scientists say there could be an ice-free summer by 2030-2040. The northern sea route was open around six months last year with an LNG vessel crossing as late as November and the season could grow to eight months within a decade.
“The northern sea route is not a rival to the Suez Canal, but it’s a good seasonal complement and has the potential to grow very fast.”
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