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First containership takes the Northern sea route


Beginning a modern-day voyage of discovery that could result in a transformation of global shipping, the Venta Maersk sailed through the Bering Strait recently and steered hard to port, under partly sunny skies. It thus became the world’s first containership to attempt the Northern Sea route, the fabled north-east passage that runs from the edge of Alaska to the top of Scandinavia along Russia’s desolate Siberian coastline, reports said.


Maritime transit is now possible between July and October because of the rapid retreat of the Arctic sea ice due to profound climate change, a trend that is amplified at the North and South poles.


Russia, China and commercial shipping interests are among those with high hopes that the Northern Sea route could become a melt-season alternative to Egypt’s Suez Canal, cut down weeks off transit times and slash fuel costs for vessels shuttling between ports in Europe and Asia and the Americas, reports added.


Source : Exim News Service - Copenhagen, Sept. 13


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