Explaining why COSCO chose the Northern Sea Route, Chen Feng, General Director of COSCO Marketing and Sales, said that this route is smooth and fast. He did not reveal how many voyages will be made, as much will depend on weather and ice conditions, as well as demand, but he noted that the transits will several.

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Mr. Feng also highlighted that, this Route can save up to ten days on a shipment between Asia and Europe, thus reducing fuel energy, avoiding at the same time piracy incidents.

According to sources, the west-bound shipments will take place mainly from China, but also South Korea and Japan.

COSCO has an experience in Arctic voyages as it has made a total of 22 trans-Arctic shipments. The first two occurred in 2013, while 8 more took place in 2018.

This confirmation comes as China wants to strengthen its position in the Arctic. Its Polar Silk Road is considered a key part of the Belt and Road initiative. However, waters in the area are still highly complicated for vessels.

Despite the rough area, during 2018 a total of 491,000 tons of cargo was shipped on the route, most of it by COSCO’s eight ships.