Research Output
Assessing the shipping in the Northern Sea Route: a qualitative approach
  Purpose-The Northern Sea Route (NSR) could become viable in the near future. If this happens it will radically reducey impact upon sailing times and distances current routes and have huge implications for shipping worldwide, and particularly on routes from Asia to Northern Europe. However, although much has been written about the feasibility of the NSR, about the issues involved, and about the possible opening of the route, the views of key stakeholders from companies who would potentially benefit from the route have been little explored. In this paper we complement existing literature by presenting the results from in-depth qualitative interviews with nine key stakeholders based in Shanghai and Taiwan, with extensive research, knowledge and practical experience of NSR. Design/methodology/approach-Based on a grounded theory analysis, a total of nine (9) key stakeholders knowledgeable about NSR, and the majority with sailing experience of NSR, are interviewed, including one government official, two professors, shipping experts in six liner and one bulk shipping companies. Findings-We present interviewees' thoughts regarding the feasibility of NSR at the current time in terms of practicalities, ships, costs, information and wider issues. Practical implications-These thoughts show that whilst the potential of the NSR is huge in theory, in practice the overall perception of it in terms of current feasibility from a company perspective is one of challenges and unknown issues. issues. Shipping companies can benefit from our findings when considering the feasibility of NSR as a shipping route. Ultimately, the picture emerges that without one country, probably Russia, taking the lead on the route, it will remain only a theoretical one. Originality/value - In-depth interviews with grounded theory are used to investigate current and actual thoughts on NSR. This paper highlight correlations and additions to show a fuller picture of current knowledge, and adds views from Shanghai and Taiwan.

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  • Date:

    15 December 2017

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  • Library of Congress:

    HE Transportation and Communications

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    387 Water, air & space transportation

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Tseng, P., & Pilcher, N. (2017). Assessing the shipping in the Northern Sea Route: a qualitative approach. Maritime Business Review, 2(4), 389-409.



Northern Sea Route, shipping, grounded theory, interview,

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