SEOUL : South Korean container shipping company Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) is reviewing Arctic shipping opportunities as it eyes cost savings resulting from the shorter trip duration between Asia and Europe via the route.
According to the local sources, a trial operation is being planned for 2020 with the deployment of 2,500 to 3,500 TEU ships.
A HMM Spokesperson confirmed that the Arctic voyage is being considered as a new idea.
However, the specific dates and reported vessel specifications could not be confirmed. Should the plans move forward, HMM would become the first South Korean container carrier to transit the route.
The Arctic vessel traffic more than doubled as sea ice retreated over the past 40 years, with expectations that the traffic volume might triple by 2020.
Nevertheless, shipping in the region poses a number of risks such as lack of hydrographic study of specific areas of the Arctic Ocean, a year-round ice factor and the need for qualified personnel.