The Arctic Institute's reaction to the arrival of the Yong Sheng in Rotterdam

Berlin, September 8, 2013 - In response to the arrival of the Yong Sheng in Rotterdam, the first Chinese cargo vessel traveling along the Northern Sea Route, Malte Humpert, Executive Director of The Arctic Institute, said: 

“In contrast to recent reports, Arctic shipping will remain of limited importance to China. The geographic distribution of China’s main trade partners and its substantial and ongoing investments in port infrastructure along existing trade routes speak counter to the idea of large-scale Chinese trans-Arctic shipping.”

With regard to widespread reports of an exponential increase of shipping along the NSR Kathrin Keil, The Arctic Institute’s Europe Director, stated:

“In 2013 the Russian authorities for the first time made available a list of all granted permits for the NSR. The vast majority of permits are not for full transits, but are for regional traffic, primarily in the Kara Sea in the western part of the NSR. The number of Arctic transitsvessels traveling from the Pacific to the Atlantic or vice versais expected to be on par or slightly below 2012 figures when 46 ships made the journey.” 

On the overall importance of Arctic shipping, Andreas Raspotnik, Analyst at the Institute said:

“With the melting of Arctic sea ice, Arctic shipping has become part of today’s maritime landscape. Large-scale trans-Arctic shipping and a shift in global trade patterns towards the Arctic, however, are far from becoming a reality. Traffic along the NSR will continue to be dominated by regional – primarily Russian – traffic and remain a seasonal and niche trade route.”

For the full analysis please click here.