Few takers for Northern Sea Route as shippers stick to what they know

Only 18 ships made use of the Northern Sea Route last year, with analysts suggesting that shipping companies are loth to abandon  established alternatives to the south, especially at a time of low freight rates; and although the government claims that the construction of new ice breakers will keep the  route open all year round and so increase its allure, the new ‘Cold Silk Road’ is struggling to attract traffic. 
 “Between mid-August to mid-October,the waters of the Northern Sea Route were free of ice and ships could pass freely in transit even without icebreaker assistance,” the  Ministry of Transport said in response to an information request from Interfax. In fact only one ship – the Winter Bay – used the route during that period and traffic was actually significantly down on previous years. The main delivery route between Asia and Europe remains the Suez Canal which  offers year-round access, established trade links, and access to a string of ports in the Gulf, the Mediterranean and beyond.

Source: Interfax