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Cosco will make the Northern Sea Route Silk

07 August 2019
Logistics News

It was Cosco Shipping - the Chinese logistics giant, the world leader in the bulk cargo sector and one of the tops in the field of container transportation - that became the pioneer in the development of the Northern Sea Route back in 2013. The Cosco-owned container ship Yong Sheng is the first ship to travel from China to Europe via the NSR. It is not surprising that Cosco was the first in August 2019 to begin regular container transportation along the Polar Silk Road, as the NSR is called in China. Cosco Group intends to carry out 14 commercial container flights from China to Europe via the NSR with container carriers with a carrying capacity of 28-34 thousand tons.

In addition to transportation from China to Europe, Cosco plans to deliver transit goods from South Asia and even from the United States. So the Chinese operator is the first to start the global development of transportation via the NSR. None of the Russians has yet shown a desire to become a national operator of transportation on the NSR. Neither Rosatom nor Sovcomflot. Only Russian companies producing hydrocarbons in the Arctic show interest in the NSR.

The problems of the NSR are not only the absence of a single Russian operator, the small number of interested cargo owners and the seasonality of transport. 110 nautical miles of the NSR - the so-called "white spots" not covered by navigation maps. With such "blindness" there is always a chance to run aground.

For year-round navigation on the NSR icebreakers are needed. Two “Arctic” and three “Leaders” should be created within 15 years. Consequently, large-scale Arctic international freight traffic can only be discussed on the horizon of 2030-2035.