Arctic trade route opens - by China's shipping giant Cosco

Discussion in 'China' started by amoy, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Arctic trade route opens |Top News |chinadaily.com.cn
    Updated: 2013-08-10 01:26

    Cosco Shipping Co's new shortcut route to Europe and North America via the Arctic Northeast Passage is expected to change China's industrial layout in its coastal provinces and reshape the prospects for the global shipping sector, said industry experts.

    Cosco Shipping, a listed company within China's shipping giant Cosco Group, made its maiden journey on the route with a multipurpose vessel on Thursday. It plans to serve the company's needs in developing the new route and searching for market growth points. The company conducts general and specialized cargo shipping services for Cosco Group.

    The ship left Dalian port in Northeast China's Liaoning province and is scheduled to take 33 days to reach Europe. It is the first time a Chinese merchant ship has traveled to Europe via the Arctic Northeast Passage.

    The total deadweight tonnage of the multipurpose vessel is 19,461 tons. The ship is expected to arrive in the Bering Strait on Aug 25.

    There are three main shipping passages across the Arctic region — the North East Passage, the North West Passage and the Central Route. As the ice melts, the North East Passage opens from the end of July for four months or more, while the Central Route opens from the end of August for one month or more.

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    With a distance of 2,936 nautical miles (5,437 kilometers), the Northeast Passage is known as the most economical route in this region. Ships from China will sail west across the Bering Strait, through a number of waters including the East Siberian Sea and Vilkitsky Strait before having the option to dock at various European ports.

    "Once the new passage is opened, it will change the market pattern of the global shipping industry because it will shorten the maritime distance significantly among the Chinese, European and North American markets," said Qi Shaobin, a professor at Dalian Maritime University.

    Qi said because China remains the world's largest exporter, many of its major ports such as Dandong, Yingkou, Qinhuangdao and Tianjin will benefit from the new routes, especially those in the northeast of the country.

    Currently, 90 percent of China's trade is carried out by sea. China's trade will grow to $7.6 trillion by 2020, the Polar Research Institute of China forecasts.

    Han Yichao, an industrial analyst with Changjiang Securities Co, said if 10 percent of China's trade was shipped through the Arctic routes by then, that could be worth $683 billion.

    Cosco Shipping said that the opening of the Northeast Passage has significant commercial potential, in particular under current global economic conditions.

    The new passage could cut shipping times between Asian and European ports by about one-third. More importantly, the new route will offer favorable opportunities to all Cosco Group's shipping business during the currently sluggish period because it will cut operating costs, fuel consumption and carbon emissions, the company said.

    Because of the imbalance between demand and supply in shipping market, Cosco Group has experienced large net losses over the past two years.
     
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  3. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Climate Change Is Opening the Door to Arctic Shipping | Mother Jones

    For a ship on a mission of worldwide importance, the Yong Sheng is a distinctly unimpressive sight. The grey and green hull of the 19,000-metric-ton cargo vessel, operated by China's state-owned Cosco Group, is streaked with rust, while its cargo of steel and heavy equipment would best be described as prosaic.

    Yet the Yong Sheng's journey, which began on August 8 from Dalian, a port in northeastern China, to Rotterdam is being watched with fascination by politicians and scientists. They are intrigued, not by its cargo, but by its route—for the Yong Sheng is headed in the opposite direction from the Netherlands and sailing toward the Bering Strait, which separates Russia and Alaska. Once through the strait, it will enter the Arctic Ocean, where it will attempt one of the most audacious voyages of modern seafaring: sailing through one of the Arctic's fabled passages, the Northern Sea Route.

    The passage, which hugs the coast of northern Russia, and its mirror route, the Northwest Passage, which threads its way through the islands and creeks of northern Canada, have claimed the lives of thousands of sailors who tried for centuries to cross the Arctic in an attempt to link the ports of the Far East and Europe by sailing via the north pole. Thick pack ice, violent storms, and plummeting temperatures thwarted these endeavors.

    But global warming has transformed the Arctic in recent years and its summer ice cover has dropped by more than 40 percent over the last few decades, raising the prospect that it may soon be possible to sail along the Arctic's sea routes with ease—a notion that is proving irresistible to shipping lines, not to mention mining companies as well as oil and gas exploration firms. All believe the region is ripe for exploitation.

    Several fairly large ships have already sailed the Northern Sea Route. However, the voyage of the Yong Sheng, backed by the Chinese government, has special significance. This is the first attempt by the world's biggest exporter to exploit the Arctic's disappearing ice to reach its biggest market—the European Union.

    "We always knew global warming would affect the planet first in the Arctic, but we have been floored by the rapidity of that change," said Mark Serreze, director of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

    "Temperatures have risen dramatically. At this rate, I would expect the Arctic to be completely free of ice in summer by around 2030. That is why everyone has become so interested in the region."

    The attraction for China in opening up the Northern Sea Route is straightforward. According to Cosco, the Yong Sheng's 3,380-mile journey will take about 35 days, shaving two weeks off the traditional route between Asia and Europe via the Suez Canal.

    "The Arctic route can cut 12 to 15 days from traditional routes, so the maritime industry calls it the Golden Waterway," Cosco said when it announced the Yong Sheng's voyage. For good measure, the new route will avoid the pirate-invested waters of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.

    For more on the US Navy's (minimal) plans for a warming Arctic, check out Julia Witty's March/April 2013 cover story.
    Making such cuts in transport times means major savings in fuel and lower costs for its products, hence China's new enthusiasm for all things polar. Although its border goes nowhere near the Arctic, China recently gained observer status in the Arctic Council, a group of nations—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States—with major interests in the region. China, whose total foreign trade was worth $3.87 trillion last year, can see clear economic benefits from exploiting the warming that is gripping the planet and shrinking its northern sea ice shelves.

    This point was stressed by Professor Qi Shaobin of Dalian Maritime University in China. Opening up the Arctic "will change the market pattern of the global shipping industry because it will shorten the maritime distance significantly among the Chinese, European, and American markets," he told Chinese state media last week.

    And shipping figures certainly look encouraging. Russian authorities said last week they had already granted permission for more than 370 ships to sail the route this year. In 2012, only 46 ships sailed the entire length of the passage from Europe to Asia, while in 2010 only 4 vessels made the voyage.

    In the wake of these figures, several proposals have been announced to take advantage of the expected expansion in Arctic shipping. Iceland is considering plans, backed by German entrepreneurs, to build a major port on its northeastern shores. Similarly, Stornoway Port Authority in Scotland said last month that it was considering building a special port for Arctic ships so they could refuel and discharge cargoes into smaller vessels for onward shipment to Rotterdam, Le Havre, Liverpool, or London. In addition, Valentin Davydants, captain of Russia's Atomflot fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers, has estimated that 15 million metric tons of cargo will use the full Northern Sea Route by 2021.

    It sounds impressive until you realize that 929 million metric tons of cargo were shipped through the Suez Canal by 18,000 vessels in 2011. By that standard, the Northern Sea Route has still got a long way to go in transforming world shipping.

    And other issues affect the attractiveness of sailing in Arctic waters. The seas around the North Pole may be losing their summer ice cover, but there is still the ever-present danger of icebergs and drifting slabs of pack ice.

    "Satellite photographs may suggest an area is completely clear of ice, but there is still a chance that a ship will encounter drifts of ice," Serreze said. "It is very unlikely that the Yong Sheng will go through these waters on its own. The Russians have the best, most powerful armada of icebreakers. Some of these are huge nuclear-powered vessels, and I would expect one of these will have been hired to escort the Yong Sheng on the main part of its journey."

    The last point is crucial. The Arctic Ocean will eventually lose its sea ice cover for several months in summer, but this is not likely to occur for a couple of decades.

    For the foreseeable future, the Northern Sea Route will therefore be open for only a few weeks in summer and still require icebreaker escorts. These factors will severely limit the route's potential in the short term, a point stressed by Zhang Yongfeng, a researcher at the Shanghai International Shipping Institute.

    "The navigable period of the passage is relatively short, while the port and pier infrastructure along the route is incomplete," he told Fox News.

    Then there is the major expansion of the Panama Canal, expected to be completed by 2015. When that happens it will be possible to take ships that have more than double the upper cargo capacity on vessels currently allowed in the canal. Again, the major beneficiary is expected to be China with its voracious export plans. The costs of shipping its goods to the eastern United States are predicted to drop by more than 30 percent as a result of the Panama's expansion.

    "For the next decade, I would have thought that the expanded Panama Canal will have a far greater impact on world trade than opening up routes in the Arctic," Serreze said.

    Others disagree, however. One estimate suggests that between 5 percent and 15 percent of China's international trade could use the Arctic route by the end of the decade. And where China leads, the world is very likely to follow.


    Ice Peril Means Northern Sea Won't Be Plain Sailing

    There are two main sea routes through the Arctic Ocean. The Northern Sea Route, or the Northeast Passage as it is also known, hugs the coast of northern Russia between the Bering Strait in the east and the north cape of Norway in the west. The other route, the Northwest Passage, lies at the opposite edge of the Arctic Ocean and threads through the channels and islands that pepper the coast of Canada between Greenland and Alaska.

    The shipping line Cosco's decision to take the Northern Sea Route, rather than the Northwest Passage, will have been a straightforward one.

    Winds whip off Siberia and blow the sea ice that forms on its coast into deeper water. As a result, Arctic sea ice is generally thin along the eastern edge of the Arctic, along the Siberian coast, where the Northern Sea Route passes. This means that when temperatures rise, as they have been doing for the last few decades in the region, this will be one of the first places in the Arctic Ocean where sea ice—already thinned—will melt and disappear in the summer months.

    Conditions along the Northwest Passage are far less favorable. Winds drive ice floes into the region's myriad channels and creeks, which can become blocked by thick ice for years—as mariners have found to their cost.

    All 129 men on John Franklin's expedition—which set sail from England in 1845—died when his two ships, Erebus and Terror, became trapped in thick ice. The route was not conquered until the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, navigated it between 1903 and 1906.

    By contrast, the Northern Sea Route had been conquered several decades earlier when the Swedish explorer Adolf Nordenskiöld sailed his ship Vega through the passage in 1879.

    The voyage of the Yong Sheng through the Northern Sea Route will not be without its hazards, however. Satellite images provided by the American National Snow and Ice Data Center last week indicate that there are still significant amounts of sea ice blocking the route around the Taymyr Peninsula in Siberia.

    "Arctic sea ice does not reach its minimum extent until mid-September," said ice data center director Mark Serreze. "Last year it dropped below 4 million square kilometers—the lowest, by far, that we have recorded since we began satellite monitoring of the region. However, this year the weather has been cooler and sea ice coverage will certainly not drop to last year's levels. That means there will be more sea ice en route and more danger. The Yong Sheng will certainly need the help of an icebreaker."

    Nonetheless, scientists do agree that summer sea ice in the Arctic will disappear sometime this century. Cover has dropped at a rate of around 13 percent every 10 years for the last few decades. Some believe this rate is accelerating and expect all summer sea ice to disappear in a few years. Serreze predicts 2030; others say it will not be gone until around 2040 or 2050.

    Most agree about the cause, however: Carbon emissions from factories, power plants, and cars are inexorably raising global temperatures and triggering major changes in the Arctic.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
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  4. Vishwarupa

    Vishwarupa Senior Member Senior Member

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    Can i say this is the effect of INS Vikramaditya, INS Arihant & INS Vikrant? Or is it that chinese are afraid of coming to Malacca strait & IOR. LOL
     
  5. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Indeed, Chinis are scared and trying by all means to avoid the troubled waters of Indian Ocean

    The next in the making -
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    Another propaganda; article heading saying the rout opens, by Chinese company.

    The rout open during summers naturally and shuts down during winters. The red para talk about future but the heading talks about something already done.
     
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  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Congratulations china on breaking the Western trade monopoly,for an Asian nation
    This is a great achievement.
     
  8. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Breaking trade monopoly? That sounds an exaggeration.

    These passages only open up shorter/cheaper routes, and alternatives to the Malacca/ Indian Ocean / Suez / Gilbratar chokepoints /trade lane.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
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  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Suez canal and panama Canal are controlled by the west.
     
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  10. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

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    11AC of Usan have been there for decades
     
  11. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Such a China-vs-West mentality is harmful IMO. Even when Chinese routes via Arctic passages arent the Sea of Japan then Bering Strait under the West's radar screening? The West is omnipresent- the destination of this Cosco voyager is Rotterdam, still the WEST.

    The world has become so interdependent that the exploration of the Arctic is contributing to shortening the distance btwn China and West in a cost effective way. Chinese are no paranoid to define our relationship as always confrontational.

    Of course a melting Artic does reduce our exposure to threats on the sea lane through IOR!

    Sent from my 5910 using Tapatalk 2
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
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  12. J20!

    J20! Senior Member Senior Member

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    You plan on using SSBN's on comercial shipping? What, are you going to nuke a tanker? Thank God you're not in the Indian Navy, we'd have merchant sailors being blown up for fun.
     
  13. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Fednav Ltd. | First Arctic cargo shipped through the Northwest Passage

    [​IMG]

    MONTREAL, Sept. 19, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Fednav, a Canadian-owned company and world leader in Arctic navigation, today announced that its vessel, the MV Nunavik sailed from Deception Bay en route to China via Canada's Northwest Passage, with a full cargo of nickel concentrate. The Nunavik will be one of the first commercial vessels to transit the Northwest Passage completely, and the first to do so unescorted with an Arctic cargo, and with Canadian expertise.

    The Nunavik is the most powerful conventional (non-nuclear) icebreaking bulk carrier in the world, and sails from Deception Bay, Northern Quebec year round, transporting product from the Canadian Royalties mine. The Nunavik will deliver 23,000 tons of nickel concentrate to Bayuquan in China.

    The Nunavik will be supported by a shore-based team of ice navigation specialists from Fednav and its subsidiary, Enfotec. The vessel will receive regular ice charts including real-time satellite imagery in order to operate Enfotec's proprietary onboard ice-navigation system, IcenavTM, further enabling safe and efficient transit.

    The route to China via the Northwest Passage is some 40 percent shorter than the traditional Panama Canal route, and as a result, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,300 tonnes.

    "Fednav is proud to have designed this remarkable ship and to plan the first independent commercial voyage through the Northwest Passage," said Paul Pathy, President and co-CEO of Fednav Limited. "It is through the extraordinary capabilities of the Fednav team, the ship's crew, and its world-leading technology that we can undertake this journey with confidence."

    To follow the Nunavik in this crossing, visit NUNAVIK'S LOG BOOK | Fednav

    [​IMG]

    Fednav Limited
    Fednav is an international shipowning company headquartered in Montreal. Its principal activities include the transport of bulk and general cargo worldwide. The company has offices in Antwerp, Barbados, Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro, London, Singapore, and Tokyo, as well as regional offices in Canada and the United States. Fednav also has terminal, logistics, ice analysis, and shipping agency services and divisions. It employs 260 people and nearly 2000 crew members and stevedores.
     
  14. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Northern Sea Route traffic plummeted | Barentsobserver

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    Cargo transport along the Northern Sea Route is down 77% compared to 2013. (Photo: Atomflot)

    After four years of increased use of the Northern Sea Route by vessels going in transit between Europe and Asia, 2014 saw a steep downturn. The amount of cargo transported in transit dropped 77 percent compared to last year.

     
  15. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    COSCO to Plan Regular Shipping Services through the Arctic

    SHANGHAI: China's biggest shipping company COSCO intends to launch regular services through the Arctic Ocean to Europe, a spokeswoman said Tuesday (Oct 27), as global warming makes the route viable and Beijing steps up its northern ambitions.

    The state-owned industry giant has only twice sent a vessel through the "Northeast Passage", once in 2013 and again in a voyage completed this month, state media reported.

    The European Union is China's biggest trading partner and sailing via the Arctic rather than the Indian Ocean would cut shipping times by as much as nine days, according to previous reports.

    "There is an intention to open a regular line in the future and people are discussing it," a spokeswoman for group subsidiary COSCO Container Lines told AFP, without giving a specific timetable.

    Her comments came after the official Xinhua news agency reported Monday that Chinese experts and officials had hailed the route as a "golden waterway" for trade.

    COSCO released a statement saying the company would "continue to promote normalisation of operations for the Arctic's Northeast Passage".

    Earlier this month COSCO's Yong Sheng merchant ship completed a 55-day round-trip voyage between China and Europe using the Northeast Passage, Xinhua said. The same vessel carried out the firm's maiden journey on the route two years ago.

    China does not border the Arctic and has no territorial claim to any of it, but joined the Arctic Council as an observer two years ago. Observers say Beijing recognises the area's potential for scientific research and its strategic value.

    "With global warming and accelerated ice melting in the Arctic, summer voyages in the Northeast and Northwest Passages in the Arctic have become possible, with commercial development and environmental protection issues attracting the constant attention of international society," COSCO said.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Moscow invites Beijing to take part in Arctic sea route project]
    Published time: 7 Dec, 2015 13:15
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    Russian icebreaker leads cargo along Northern Sea Route © Sputnik

    Russia wants China to participate in constructing railways to transport cargo to ports on the Arctic or Northern Sea Route, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

    “Integrated development of the Northern Sea Route guarantees the security of year-round cargo shipments both foreign and domestic,“ Rogozin said on Monday at the Arctic Forum.

    "In fact, we can say now that this is not just the economic Silk Road but the cool [Arctic –Ed.] Silk Road," he added.

    [​IMG]

    Rogozin urged government agencies responsible for the project to work with new technology for the route’s full year operations.“We have all the technological opportunities needed for that,” he said.

    In June, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an order for the development of the Northern Sea Route, a passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the shortest route along Russia's arctic coastline.

    READ MORE: Russian PM orders plan to increase Northern Sea Route capacity by 20 times

    It reduces the transport time from China to Europe by at least 12 days compared to the traditional Suez Canal route. In Soviet times, the Northern Sea Route was used mainly to provide goods to isolated settlements in Russia's Arctic regions.

    Russia wants to increase shipping capacity along the route from the current four million tons to 80 million tons over the next 15 years. The government has also ordered a maritime traffic regulation system and protection of the seas against pollution.

    https://www.rt.com/business/324973-russia-china-sea-route/

    ~~Still waters run deep. ~~from my MiPad using tapatalk
     
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  17. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    China spurs ships to use Arctic shipping route: report
    AFP 20 April 2016
    [​IMG]
    China is looking to exploit the Northwest Passage, the fabled short-cut from the Pacific to the Atlantic, state-run media said Wednesday, with the world's biggest trader in goods publishing a shipping guide to the route.

    The seaway north of Canada, which could offer a quicker journey from China to the US East Coast than via the Panama Canal or Cape Horn, was sought by European explorers for centuries, including by the doomed Franklin expedition of 1845.

    Even now it remains ice-bound for much of the year, but global warming and the retreat of Arctic sea ice are making it more accessible, and Beijing sees it as an opportunity to reshape global trade flows.

    China's Maritime Safety Administration earlier this month published a 356-page, Chinese language guide including nautical charts and descriptions of ice conditions for the Northwest Passage, said the China Daily newspaper, which is published by the government.

    "There will be ships with Chinese flags sailing through this route in the future," it quoted administration spokesman Liu Pengfei as saying.

    "Once this route is commonly used, it will directly change global maritime transportation and have a profound influence on international trade, the world economy, capital flows and resources exploitation," he added.

    Last year, Chinese shipping company COSCO said it plans to launch regular services through the Arctic Ocean to Europe by way of the "Northeast Passage", another Arctic shipping route north of Russia.

    COSCO ships travelled that route in 2013 and 2015. State-owned COSCO has since merged with another company, China Shipping Group.

    also read
    The passage less taken

     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  18. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Japan, China, South Korea to hold Arctic talks
    KYODO APR 25, 2016

    SEOUL – Talks on Arctic issues between representatives from Japan, South Korea and China are slated for Thursday in Seoul, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced Monday.

    The meeting, to be held at the Foreign Ministry building, will be attended by Kazuko Shiraishi, Japan’s ambassador in charge of Arctic affairs, and her South Korean and Chinese counterparts, Kim Chan-woo and Ma Xinmin, respectively.

    At the talks, the three are expected to discuss their country’s policies on Arctic affairs, including scientific research in the region.

    All three are observer states to the Arctic Council, having joined the organization in May 2013. The body seeks to address environmental and development issues relating to the region, and counts Canada, the United States, Russia and the Scandinavian countries as its members.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20...outh-korea-to-hold-arctic-talks/#.Vx4An5aS2f0

    ~~Still waters run deep. ~~from my MiPad using tapatalk
     
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  19. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Not quite a propaganda.

    Firstly, the northern routes used to shutdown in winter prior to 1959. The year 1959 is important. The world's first nuclear powered ice-breaker NS Lenin was completed in 1959. This ensured the northern trade routes are never shut down during the winter.

    Secondly, PRC had already completed a maiden journey along the northern route using the multi-purpose vessel, before this article was written. What will come in the future is regular commercial usage of this route.
     
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  20. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    More Chinese Ships to Use Arctic Route
    By Aiswarya Lakshmi
    Monday, July 18, 2016, 2:18 AM

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    Photo: LaRouche PAC
    China will send more ships flying its flag to take the Northwest Passage via the Arctic Ocean to cut travel times between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, says the state news agency Xinhua.


    The world's largest maritime carrier China COSCO Shipping Corporation will send more cargo vessels on Arctic voyages through the Northeast Passage. COSCO's freighter Yongsheng set out Saturday in northern port city of Tianjin for Britain.

    The ship will travel through the Arctic Ocean shipping route for the third time following voyages in 2015 and 2013, when it became China's first commercial vessel to explore the Northeast Passage.

    At least two more huge freighters will travel on the route in August in separate voyages, said the company.

    An Arctic trip can be shortened by one third of the conventional Malacca-Suez route. The COSCO said the Arctic shipping route will promote China-Europe trade.

    Shorter shipping routes across the Arctic Ocean would save Chinese companies time and money. For example, the journey from Shanghai to Hamburg via the Arctic route is 2,800 nautical miles shorter than going by the Suez Canal.
     

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