SHIPPING giant Maersk Line says it plans to carry out a one-off trial passage of the Northern Sea Route from the East to West, passing the Bering Strait.
The ship Venta Maersk, a Baltic feeder vessel, is expected to depart Vladivostok early next month, make a stop at Busan in Korea and then make the long journey to Saint Petersburg, arriving at the end of the month.
Venta Maersk is one of a new ice class container vessels of 3600 TEU. It is around 200 metres in length and 35 metres across the beam.
“The specific trial transit route is to be as per agreement with Russian authorities after careful evaluation of ice conditions, and ice breaker assistance will be provided as required,” a Maersk spokesperson said.
“The trial passage will enable us to explore the operational feasibility of container shipping through the Northern Sea Route and to collect data.
“Currently, we do not see the Northern Sea Route as a commercial alternative to our existing network which is defined by our customers’ demand, trading patterns and population centres.”