ABS, COSCO Partner on Arctic Shipping Development

By Joseph R. Fonseca
Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Parties bring together technical capabilities on trans-Arctic shipping

Facing changing climate conditions in the Arctic which have effectively generated new opportunities shipping in the region, classification society ABS and commercial shipper China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO) have signed a cooperation agreement aiming to enhave trans-Arctic shipping development.

Signing the agreement in Shanghai were ABS Greater China Division President and COO Eric Kleess and Captain Meijiang Cai, Director of COSCO Safety & Technology Supervision Division. ABS Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Howard Fireman and COSCO Executive Vice President Yuhang Wang were also in attendance at the signing ceremony.

As shifting climate conditions open new operational and trading opportunities in previously unnavigable areas, several new attractive opportunities are no presented to the global shipping industry. Using the Northern Sea Route for a voyage between the principal Asian and European ports, for example, reduces the sailing distance by nearly 4,000 miles compared to the traditional route through the Suez Canal.

With these opportunities in mind, COSCO and ABS aim to expand COSCO’s use of the Northeast Passage for more regular trading, explore navigation in Northwest Passage, and develop ice-classed vessel types appropriate for Trans-Arctic shipping. The parties will begin by establishing a cooperative initiative on Arctic Shipping Technology Development.

“ABS is excited to work with COSCO to develop this pioneering trading route,” Kleess said. “Combining ABS’ technical experience with COSCO’s successful use of the Northeast Passage with the first Chinese merchant ship, Yongsheng, navigating this route creates a solid foundation for jointly promoting the development of sustainable shipping in Arctic waters.”

“We are proud of the successful navigation through Arctic waters and the contribution we are making to Trans-Arctic shipping,” Captain Cai said. “Further cooperation between COSCO and ABS will allow us to make new contributions to the sustainable use of Arctic sea routes.”

 

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