China to release guidebook on Arctic shipping

China is accelerating its pace in Arctic exploration by publishing its first guide to sailing through the Northern Sea Route.


The guide will offer “comprehensive, practical and authoritative” information for Chinese cargo ships for sailing through the Northern Sea Route to Europe, Zhai Jiugang, deputy head of the Ministry of Transport’s Maritime Safety Administration, said at a news conference in Beijing on Thursday, according to China Daily. He said the guide will be released in July.

The Northern Sea Route can save Chinese cargo ships nearly 5200 kilometers and nine days from the traditional voyage to Europe through the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal, Jiugang said.

The guide will include the route’s nautical chart, sailing methods, ice-breaking providers and Arctic geography and climate, as well as laws and regulations of countries along the route.

In May this year, President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a joint statement on a new stage of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between the two countries. According to the joint statement, Russia will facilitate China’s goods shipment using its railway networks, ports and the Northern Sea Route. 

China made its first commercial voyage through the Northern Sea Route in 2013, when the cargo ship “Yong Sheng” sailed from Dalian in China to Rotterdam

In 2012 the icebreaker “Xue Long” (Snow Dragon) became the first Chinese vessel to sail all along the Northern Sea Route into the Barents Sea and upon return sailing a straight line from Iceland to the Bering Strait via the North Pole.

The Northern Sea Route Administration has so far received 205 applications to sail the whole of parts of the Northern Sea Route in 2014. Only one of these – the heavy lift vessel “Xiang Yun Kou” sails under Chinese flag.