Chinese and Japanese shipping companies are collaborating to create an Arctic Ocean route, with the aim to ship LNG to Asian markets. This development is an attempt which has as a target to reduce transport time by more than half.
Namely, Japan’s Mitsui and China’s Cosco Shipping will cooperate, diversifying risk, as sailing in the Arctic hides many dangers. According to Nikkei, despite the fact that the Arctic route has been used by Russian cargo ships, the new service will be the first regular international shipping run to use the route.
The Arctic route can significantly reduce shipping time to Asia, as for the usual route, the trip takes about 35 days. while traveling through the Arctic and the Bering Sea cuts the time to 15 days.
Another crucial factor is the fact that this winter China experienced a serious natural gas shortage, which caused homes to be short of heat and forced factories to shut down. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s is trying to decrease air pollution by changing from coal to natural gas resulted in the shortfall.
This leaves China no choice but to import as much natural gas as quickly as possible, and Cosco is looking to develop the best routes for shipping LNG.
A key challenge for the Arctic route is that there is not enough information on water depths in the Arctic Ocean, an area that has been sailed up little. That increases the risk of vessels running aground, so ships have to be properly equipped to break up ice in their sail.