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International Journal of Production Economics

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Since the beginning of the 20th century, the principal commercial maritime routes have changed very little. With global warming, the Northern Sea Route (NSR) has opened up as a possible avenue of trade in containerized products between Asia and Europe. This paper verifies the technical and economic feasibility of regular container transport along the NSR. By adopting a model schedule between Shanghai and Hamburg, we are able to analyze the relative costs of various axes in the Asia–Europe transport network, including the NSR. While shipping through the Suez Canal is still by far the least expensive option, the NSR and Trans-Siberian Railway appear to be roughly equivalent second-tier alternatives.