Dalian: Japan’s Weathernews is predicting that the Northern Sea Route (NSR) through the Arctic will open up in the next week or so, fully one month earlier than last year. The route that offers around a 35% distance shortcut from China to Europe is expected to see more Chinese vessel transits this year. The Northwest Passage should open shortly after the NSR, Weathernews also predicted.
The NSR Authority in Russia said that over 400 vessels had for permission to sail through the NSR, more than the record 346 permits granted in 2013.
Cosco is expected to be the main Chinese user of the route this year.
Going forward, Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines and China Shipping will start transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) through the Arctic Ocean in 2018 using icebreaker LNG tankers. The pair have ordered three icebreaker LNG carriers from South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering as part of the Yamal LNG project. [13/08/14]