China is planning to encourage ships donning its flag to take the arctic route to decrease travel time from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.
The Asian country is specifically looking at the possibility of its ships taking the Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean.
The decision comes as trade tactic and as a way to maximize the melting ice in the area due to global warming.
China's Trade Booming In The Polar Areas
Chinese business in the field of mining has been booming in the polar regions, with the country turning into one of Greenland's biggest investors and coming to a free trade agreement with Iceland.
With this, the country has started looking for ways so they could have more convenient and faster travel routes to do business. This will not only save them time, it would also spare them of extra costs entailed in long and complex trips to and from the ocean.
An example of how using the Arctic Ocean route could benefit China is the travel distance from Shanghai to Hamburg in Germany. If ships would take the Arctic Ocean route, they would only need to travel 2,800 nautical miles shorter than if they will take the Suez Canal route.
Specific Route Being Planned
This month, the Marine Safety Administration of China issued a guide that includes a precise route guidance starting from North America's northern coast to the northern Pacific.
Administration spokesperson Liu Pengfei says once the route becomes a common guide, it will explicitly alter the maritime transport in the world and bring a thorough impact on international trade, global economy, capital stream and resource usage.
In the end, he says that ships from China will sail across the Northern Passage soon, without disclosing an exact time range.
Global warming may have been attributed to numerous negative things, but for the maritime industry, it is not all bad. Sea ice melt has paved the way for passage of commercial ships in once-frozen areas.
China is determined to be active in the region. Although the area is still covered in ice, global warming and subsequent loss of Arctic ice are making China's hopes come alive.
Beijing, in particular, is looking at taking advantage and maximizing the opportunity to transform global trade processes.
What Canada Has To Say
Majority of the areas in the Northwest Passage is within the territory of Canada, at least that is what the country claims.
When asked about Chinese ships passing by Canadian waters, an Ottawa spokesperson named Joseph Pickerill says there is no instant right of transit passage in waters of Northern Passage.
"We welcome navigation that complies with our rules and regulations. Canada has an unfettered right to regulate internal waters," says Pickerill, who works for Foreign Minister Stephane Dion.