As North Pole Ice Melts, More Ships Take Arctic Shortcut

For centuries, polar bears have enjoyed Arctic waters in isolation. But now, they are getting company in the summer.

Last summer, China sent its first icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, over the top of Russia, from Shanghai to Iceland.

This summer, the Yong Sheng, a freighter operated by China’s COSCO shipping company, became the first Chinese merchant vessel to take the shortcut. It sailed from Shanghai to Rotterdam, cutting two weeks off the usual route, through Egypt’s Suez Canal.

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