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Maersk to sail first container ship over top of Russia

Maersk to sail first container ship over top of Russia
Aug 22, 2018

Northern Sea Route touted as potential rival to Suez Canal for trade as Arctic ice melts

Maersk Line will this week launch the first container ship on an Arctic route over the top of Russia as the world’s biggest carrier of seaborne freight experiments with an alternative to the Suez Canal.

The Venta Maersk, a 3,600-container new ice-class ship belonging to the Danish group, will leave Vladivostok in the next few days bound for St Petersburg, which it will reach by the end of September.

The Northern Sea Route, which stretches from the Bering Strait between Russia and the US along the far north of Russia to its exit close to Norway, has been touted as a potential long-term rival to the Suez Canal for Asia-Europe trade as ice in the Arctic continues to melt.

This summer temperatures in the Arctic Circle have been unusually high, soaring above 30C in some parts.

The Northern Sea Route can cut the journey time between Asia and Europe by one to two weeks depending on the destination but is more costly, still requires nuclear icebreakers to accompany vessels and can only take smaller vessels than the Suez Canal.