arctic ice

Ever More Shippers Refuse to Use Arctic Route

The number of shippers refusing to use the Arctic route is growing. Previously, large companies such as Nike and H&M promised not to ship their products via the so-called Northeast Passage. Now another eight big names have been added to this list.

The shipping route via the North Pole is controversial. Due to global warming, more and more ice caps are melting in this vulnerable nature reserve. This process could be accelerated if ships regularly pass by emitting harmful substances. Environmental groups are therefore strongly opposed to the use of this route.

And they are not alone in this. More and more multinationals are banning this route by complying with the so-called Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge of environmental organisation Ocean Conservancy.

Kuehne + Nagel

Ralph Lauren, Kuehne + Nagel, Puma, International Direct Packaging, Allbirds, Aritzia, Hudson Shipping Lines and Bureo are the most recent companies opposed to sailing the Arctic route.

In October, Nike, Bestseller, Columbia, Gap, H&M, Kering, Li & Fung and PVH already joined the anti-pole route alliance. Container carriers CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd and MSC have already indicated not to use the route.


Russia, on the other hand, wants to develop a permanent shipping link via Arctic waters as soon as possible. The Kremlin recently published a fifteen-year plan for the development of infrastructure in and around the Northern Sea Route. Among other things, the Russians want to build a fleet of forty ice-proof ships, renovate four airports and build new ports and rail links.

This article first appeared on Nieuwsblad Transport, a sister publication of SWZ|Maritime.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.