Global Warming Creates New Route

by | Aug 21, 2018

The impact of global warming, and subsequent melting of Arctic ice, could potentially lead to a new shipping route between Asia and Europe.

The Northern Sea Route (NSR), which runs along the Russian Arctic Coast, is being utilised this week by a container ship for the first time. Maersk Line will be operating a 3600 TEU vessel carrying fresh fish from Vladivostok to St Petersburg.

Vladivostok is situated in the Sea of Japan, less than a 100 miles from North Korea and in Russia’s East. Therefore, the ports of China, Korea and Japan are within easy reach of services operating via the NSR to and from Europe.


The NSR can improve transit times between Asia and Europe by a week or more, depending on the destination, but is only usable for two to three months per year.  The cost is currently prohibitive too, as nuclear icebreakers are required to accompany vessels at the moment.

In the long run the NSR could prove to be a rival to the traditional Suez Canal routing, although there are no plans to open this up to general cargo yet.

UniOcean Lines will be closely monitoring the potential of this new route, as we continue to operate the most comprehensive sailing schedules from Asia – including our Trans Pacific, Northern Europe, Australasia and Inter Asian services.

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