Chinese cargo ship opens new trade route to Europe
BEIJING (AFP) - A 19,000-tonne cargo vessel is making the first journey by a Chinese merchant ship to Europe via the Northeast Passage, a shortened route that could revolutionise trade, state media reported on Saturday.
The Arctic route has become navigable due to global warming melting sea ice and promises to slash journey times by around 12 to 15 days, saving shipping companies and Chinese exporters millions in lower fuel bills and reduced operating costs.
A freighter belonging to Chinese shipping firm Cosco left the northeastern port of Dalian on Thursday and was expected to take 33 days to reach Europe via the Bering Strait and Russia's northern coastline, the official China Daily reported.
The SinoShipNews website said the vessel was headed for Rotterdam and was due to arrive on September 11.