In part because of warming and the retreat and thinning of Arctic sea ice in summer, this northern sea route is slowly becoming a reality. Russian vessels have long hauled ore and oil along the country’s sprawling northern coast, but no commercial ships under other flags have passed between Asia and Western Europe. Now, a German company, the Beluga Group of Bremen, has a ship poised to make what appears to be the first such trip, an 8,000-mile shortcut compared with alternate routes.The first commercial shipping through the Arctic will apparently take place this summer.
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