Rotterdam port welcomes first ship via the Arctic route

Rotterdam port made history on Tuesday when a Chinese freighter became the first ship to reach it using the Arctic route north of Russia.

The 19,000 tonne vessel, the Yong Sheng, set sail from Dalian last week and navigated the route in 35 days. The traditional sea route through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean takes 48 days.

The northeast passage north of Russia and through the Bering Straits is becoming more accessible as the polar ice cap melts. As it becomes easier to use this route, shipping costs could dramatically reduce.

It is not the first time a Chinese vessel has reached Europe using the northeast passage. Last summer the icebreaker Xuelong, or Snowdragon, sailed to Iceland.

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