The Arctic is considered as one of the most challenging shipping routes. Being open only a few months, few ships have chosen this route for their voyages, worrying about the extreme weather. However, this seems to be changing, as lately more and more ships actually prefer the Northern Sea Route.
Namely, navigation along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) could eventually be possible year-round until 2030, as the climate continues warming, the Head of the Russian State Hydrometeorology University Valery Mikheyev told.
Today, there is more traffic in this route, as journey times between Asia and Europe can be reduced by up to two weeks. Namely, companies such as Maersk, ESL Shipping, Cosco, and Sovcomflot have all chosen NSR to sail some of their ships.
Indicative of this increase in traffic is the fact that cargo shipping in Russia’s Northern Sea Route has increased about five times since 2013. A total of 13 million tons of cargo has been transported through the route until October 1. This is a major increase compared to the just 3 million tons that were shipped in 2013. In addition, the full year figure is expected to reach as much as 17 million tons.
Nevertheless, the arctic summer sea ice is approximately half the extent it was in the 1970s and half the volume, while the region’s strongest sea ice has broken up twice this year, for the first time on record.