A.P. Møller Mærsk plans to carry out a one-off trial passage of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in September 2018.
One of Maersk Line’s new ice-class 3,600 teu container vessels will travel from east to west, passing the Bering Strait. The specific route will be agreed with Russian authorities after careful evaluation of ice conditions. Icebreaker assistance will be provided as required, said Maersk.
A spokesperson for Maersk confirmed that the trial passage will enable the company to explore the operational feasibility of container shipping through the NSR.
Currently, however, Maersk does see the NSR as a commercial alternative to its existing network, which is defined by its customer’s demand, trading patterns and population centres.
Navigation through the Arctic has long been sought by mariners, but only in the last eight years has climate change, coupled with the opening of the Arctic region to commercial development, made such navigation possible.
In the March/April 2018 edition, HLPFI analysed how the NSR is becoming an increasingly viable shipping lane. You can read the article here.