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Graphic compares alternative sea routes from Europe to Asia, with distance and average time taken.


الطريق البحري الشمالي

By Phil Bainbridge

March 30, 2021 - Russia has used the container ship blocking Egypt’s Suez Canal to highlight the sustainability of its Arctic Northern Sea Route which trims 4,000 nautical miles off the southern alternative to Asia via the canal.

Receding sea ice is now making year-round navigation of the Northern Route possible, and cargo traffic is expected to more than double in the next few years, from 33 million tonnes to 80 million by 2024, although till a long way short of the 1.17 billion tonnes that pass through the Suez canal.

The suspension of traffic through Suez quickly disrupted world trade already suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, Suez is not the only bottleneck for world trade, with the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca, and the Panama Canal, all potentially vulnerable.

PUBLISHED: 30/03/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Newscom