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HMM eyeing Arctic option

The possibility of reducing voyage times between Asia and Europe via the Arctic sea could become more likely as Hyundai Merchant Marine looks at the possibility to create better opportunities to gain access to vessels amid global warming.

The carrier of South Korea is considering a trail to sail the polar passage route from 2020 onwards via a polar icebreaker blazing a trail for 2,500 teu-3,500 teu commercial boxships or use of ice-class vessels.

A HMM official told Lloyds Loading List:

"HMM is reviewing the Arctic voyage as a new idea, but there is nothing definite yet and low feasibility of the plan [coming through]."

The likes of Hyundai Glovis, CJ Logistics, SLK Kukbo and Pan Ocean have attempted such missions before but were unsuccessful due to the insufficient amount of specialised vessels and trained crew around to deal with such challenges.

However, if the attempt is manageable it could cut the voyage time between Busan and Rotterdam in Holland to fourteen days compared to 24 days at present, helping owners reduce fuel and vessel expenses.

For around four months of the summer the route is open through the pace of global warming. By 2030, the continued result of polar ice caps melting could be feasible.

HMM is also expecting strong demand from the Asia-US routes in the months ahead. The carrier is suspecting a shortfall between August to November because of retailers potentially ordering more goods from China and the south period.

The company will chat with their 2M partners, Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co before confirming any announcement.

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