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World's Biggest Shipping Firm To Test Route Through Russian Arctic

The test voyage has been made possible by melting sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. (file photo)

The world's biggest shipping firm says it is preparing to send a cargo vessel through the Russian Arctic for the first time – a voyage made possible by melting sea ice.

Janina von Spalding, a spokeswoman for Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, said on August 23 that the newly designed vessel would embark on "a one-off trial designed to explore an unknown route for container shipping."

Von Spalding said the ship will leave Russia's Pacific port city of Vladivostok around September 1 and was due to arrive in St. Petersburg by the end of September.

Experts say the Northern Sea Route could be a shorter journey from East Asia to Europe than the Northwest Passage over Canada because it will likely be free of ice sooner in the year due to climate change.

Based on reporting by AP and CNBC