Arctic container lines utopia
Taipei: Taiwan’s leading shipbuilder CSBC has recently finished development of design for ice-class containerships. It has also developed semi-submersible crane vessel designs of up to 65,000 dwt.
CSBC is understood to have already received a number of inquiries for its ice-class boxship design. Among those paying close attention to opening up of the Arctic to international shipping is the island’s number one shipping line, Evergreen. Weathernews, a Japanese service provider, has a Polar Routeing service which was inspired in part by long-time customer, Evergreen.
Line shipping companies fell victims to the Arctic mirage, along media and public. Russian scientists already warned about the incoming Arctic cooling, with already growing ice cover. But to comprehend the validity of Arctic liner shipping in full, one has to consider these figures:
40-foot container freight cost West – East is around $600, East – West around $3,500. The cost per container of icebreaker service only (without all other extra expenses and costs) is $534 for 20-foot container, $1,068 for 40-foot container.
The cost of establishing Arctic line shipping infrastructure along Russian Arctic Sea Route is $150 - $200 million, without any guarantee of lines’ functionality, work load and profitability.
Extra costs for 30,000 dwt bulk carrier transiting via Suez sum up to some $80,000. Extra costs of Arctic Sea Route will reach $688,000, if ice convoy is commercial, not sponsored by government. During recent years Russian and Canadian governments were actually, paying for icebreakers, in an attempt to lure shipowners to Arctic Route. It can’t go on forever, and when or if Arctic Routes will turn from exotic voyages into a commercial option, ice convoys will become commercial, too.