Japanese Shipping Companies Looking For Alternatives of Suez Canal

Ever since MV Ever Given was stuck in the Suez Canal, things at the maritime industry have took an unprecedented turn. Be it the month long ongoing legal battle for a revised compensation of USD $600 millions, or shipping companies looking for alternative routes, to reduce the dependence over the Suez Canal.

File Photo of MV Ever Given, stuck at the Suez Canal | Image Via:  CNES 2021

It is now being being reported that Japanese shipping companies are now looking for alternative trade routes, to connect Asia with Europe. The search has been on since quite some time.

The ongoing legal fiasco between the Suez Canal Authorities (SCA) and the Japanese Shipowner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha have been catalytic in the search for alternative sea routes.

As per Yoshitsugu Hayashi, a professor of transportation policy and systems at the Chubu University, the alternatives to Suez Canal are likely to have some drawbacks which the Japanese companies would have to consider.

Currently, the Japanese shipping companies have 3 alternatives to the Suez Canal, to connect Asia with Europe. The first one, being the Cape of Good Hope, in South Africa. Which is expensive, and would take a way longer time. The second one is the Arctic Route, in the north of Russia.

Image Via: Vadim Zhernov, Sputnik

Thanks to the effect of global warming, this route has now become navigable. Primarily due to the thinning of ice sheets and also due to the technological advancements in the shipping industry. This route would cut the journey from 38 days, to just 19 days. Which would be drastically reducing the fuel costs and the pollution caused.

The final of the three current alternatives, is the use of Trans-Siberian Railway Network. Russia has been increasing proposing the use of its Trans-Siberian Railway Network. Which is aimed to facilitate trade between Asia and Europe. Hankyu Hanshin Express, a Japanese company, which recently launched its rail transport service using the Trans-Siberian Railway, stated that the rail network takes two weeks less than the sea routes and half the cost of air transportation.

Let’s see if the Japanese companies can successfully find and use the above mentioned alternatives, to reduce the dependence on the ‘great old’ Suez Canal!

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