Maersk, which recently sent the 3,500 teu ice-class vessel Venta Maersk around the Northern Sea Route, has dampened any overenthusiasm for the much shorter route from the coast of China to northern Europe.
Maersk chief technical officer Palle Laursen said that “we do not see the Northern Sea Route as a viable commercial alternative to existing east-west routes. Today, passage on the route is only feasible for around three months a year, but some experts believe that may change with time”.
Venta Maersk, a Baltic feeder, started from Vladivostok and stopped at terminals in Vostochny and Busan before passing through the Bering Strait on its way to Bremerhaven.
Laursen said that the trial allowed Maersk “to gain exceptional operational experience, test vessel systems, crew capabilities and the functionality of the shore based support setup.”
The trip went smoothly, although ice conditions in the East Siberian Sea required assistance by icebreakers.