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Web Alert: Northern Sea Route won't challenge Suez until 2040

09 February 2016

A new study by the Copenhagen Business School concludes that the navigation season on the Northern Sea Route (NSR) will remain too short for investments in ice-class vessels to be economically viable for at least 20 years. As a result, the Arctic shipping route will not be competitive with the Suez Canal in the transportation of containerized goods until around 2040.

The study assumes that ice cover will continue to diminish at the present rate in order for larger vessels and liners to operate along the NSR within this timeframe. The study also makes several other assumptions which are particularly uncertain but concludes that if these assumptions prove correct then the NSR has the potential to reduce the voyage distance between Europe and Asia by up to 40%.