Economic feasibility of an NSR/SCR-combined container service on the Asia-Europe lane: a new approach dynamically considering sea ice extent

Hua Xu, Dong Yang, Jinxian Weng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The trend towards global warming and the rapid decline in the extent of summer Arctic sea ice over recent years has increased the feasibility of international Arctic shipping. In this study we propose a seasonal NSR (North Sea Route)/SCR (Suez Canal Route)-combined shipping service linking Shanghai and Rotterdam, using the Northern Sea Route during the economical navigable window but using the traditional Suez Canal Route at other times. Different from the previous literatures, this paper dynamically considers the sea ice extent in the model, which is more reasonable for the assessment of Arctic container shipping, because fuel consumption is highly related to ship speed, while ship speed is determined by the relative distances of ice-covered and ice-free route stages. A new approach is developed to predict the time points at which the ship enters and exits the ice-covered stage, given that both the ship position and the extent of sea ice are constantly changing. The results show that the NSR/SCR-combined Arctic container service can be more economical than the SCR, given lower NSR tariffs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-529
Number of pages16
JournalMaritime Policy and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2018


  • Arctic container shipping
  • cost function
  • dynamic sea ice extent
  • economic feasibility
  • Northern Sea Route

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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