China announced plans on Tuesday to help ships under its flag navigate the Arctic via a Northwest Passage route that will be 30 percent shorter than the ocean passages traditionally used to connect the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the Panama Canal.
Global warming has made the northwest route more navigable. Guidance from China's Maritime Safety Administration, released on April 5, offers elaborate information on the route, which follows the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The information includes nautical charts and sea ice situations.
"Once this route is commonly used, it will directly change global maritime transportation and have a profound influence on international trade, the world economy, capital flow and resource exploitation," said Liu Pengfei, the ministry's spokesman, at a news briefing.
(Source: China Daily)