A vessel run by COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers Co Ltd and loaded with close to 30,000 metric tons of paper pulp from Helsinki, capital of Finland, arrived in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, on Tuesday.
The arrival signified completion of the maiden voyage of the Arctic shipping route under cooperation between COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers and Shandong Port Group.
"Closer cooperation between two parties will expand market access and create more business opportunities along the Arctic shipping route," said Li Fengli, general manager of Shandong Port Group.
Because of global warming, Arctic ice is melting, opening up the possibility of an "Arctic shipping route". Shipping time between Northeast Asia and west Europe via the Arctic would be shorter than the existing one through the Indian Ocean and Suez Canal.
It would shorten voyages by a third and reduce transportation costs by 40 percent, which is conducive to higher shipping efficiency, lower oil consumption and reduced emissions.
Li said involvement in the Arctic shipping route will help Qingdao as well as Shandong to be a competitive and leading shipping hub around the world.
Shandong Port Group was officially established last month in Qingdao by integrating major ports in the province, including Qingdao Port, Yantai Port, Rizhao Port and the Bohai Bay Port Group, helping all to play a bigger role in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Weng Jiqiang, deputy general manager of Shanghai-listed COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers, said his company started operation of service along the Arctic shipping route in 2013 and has developed it into a regular business, largely meeting the needs of customers.
"In full compliance with international conventions, our company has equipped advanced facilities on our ships to undertake emission reduction," Weng added.