First Chinese merchant ship sails for Europe through Arctic Ocean

CHINESE media have announced that a cargo ship is travelling to Europe through the Northeast Passage in the Arctic Ocean, a much shorter trade route, for the first time.

The vessel, from Cosco Shipping, is predicted to arrive at the Bering Strait in two weeks, before travelling westward over Russia, and towards Europe.

The group expects that the journey will take just over one month in total.

The Northeast and Northwest Passages through the Arctic Circle are notably shorter than the alternative southern routes, potentially reducing journeys for trade by thousands of miles.

According to the China Daily, the country’s largest English-language newspaper, reduced journey times could be an important boost to the country’s trade-driven economy as well as reducing shipping costs.

The routes have become more easily navigable as melting Arctic ice has opened up routes through previously frozen areas.

In 2009, two German commercial vessels from Beluga Shipping made the first trip in the opposite direction for the first time.