China is Shipping Through the Arctic!
We recently blogged about shipping through the Arctic Ocean. Research showed that by midcentury, there would be significant increases to shipping through the Arctic using various routes along the Northern Sea Route (NSR), even the ability to go right through the North Pole.
China isn’t waiting for midcentury.
At a conference about the Arctic in Oslo, Huigen Yang, Director General of the Polar Research Institute of China announced that a Chinese shipping company is planning the country’s first commercial voyage through the NSR this year.
The shipping company will be cutting through the Arctic en route to Europe and the U.S., saving considerable time and distance.
Huigen Yang also said that by 2020, 5-15% of China’s international trade would be using the Arctic route.
This means that pretty soon, the cargo containers of goods you’re importing from China could be getting here via the Arctic. Shipping through the Arctic has been highly coveted, all the way back to the 1500s. Going through those dangerous, icy waters shorten routes by 30-40%!
That could lead to significant savings for international shippers.
Those kinds of savings have caused explorers and shippers to do the dangerous work of forging routes through the Arctic.
In August of 2012, we blogged about China’s ship Xuelong or the Snow Dragon. This ship was a tanker and an icebreaker, but it did have some cargo on it as it broke through ice and traversed the North East Passage through the Arctic.
The Snow Dragon was more of a research vessel than a cargo vessel. But since its voyage, China has been encouraging shipping companies to start sending cargo vessels through the Arctic.
Their excitement over a shipping company planning to send a commercial voyage through the Arctic here in 2013 is palpable.
How long will it be until you can get your cargo imported or exported through the Arctic? When will Universal Cargo Management offer ocean freight shipping through the Arctic?
These are good questions. The exact answer is unknown, but it’s probably sooner than you think.
Here at UCM, we are always working with carriers and our agents around the globe to get you the best shipping options for your cargo.
As shipping through the Arctic should lead to greatly increased efficiency and quite possibly lower freight rates, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the benefits it could offer our customers, the availability of space for shipping containers on Arctic cargo ships, and the safety of these voyages.
With the melting ice caps from global warming happening in the Arctic, there is a rush to get up there for the rich resources like oil and mineral deposits and to send ships through. We won’t get caught up in the rush, but will keep our focus on what is best for the shippers entrusting their cargo importing and exporting execution to us.