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by Staff Writers
Stockholm (AFP) Oct 07, 2013
Commercial shipping routes across the Arctic will not be a reality for at least a decade or two, the head of the world's biggest container line told the Financial Times on Monday.
Maersk chief executive Nils Andersen told the newspaper that an Arctic shortcut -- expected to slash journey times between China and Europe -- is "not something that will happen within the next 10 to 20 years."
The first commercial Chinese vessel recently sailed through the Northeast Passage, prompting speculation about a boom in Arctic shipping.
The shipping route north of Russia has been opened up by global warming and cuts thousands of miles -- and about two weeks -- off the journey from China, the world's biggest exporter, to its key European markets.
However it is currently only viable for commercial shipping for about four months a year when the polar ice melts enough to open up a safe route.
Icebreakers are nonetheless needed to assist the ships through the waters, rendering it a costly option.
Beyond the Ice Age
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