The melting ice cap in the Arctic Sea creates greater operational opportunities not only for shipping routes in areas inaccessible in the past due to ice coverage, but also for the existing commercial shipping routes. Therefore, the economic feasibility of higher polar classes (PC5 and PC4) will be discussed for transit operations on the route from Rotterdam to Yamal LNG terminal. Initially, the ice thickness and coverage along the route until 2050 will be identified following recent forecasting trends. This will lead to the permitted round trips per year for the ice class in question. Consequently, a decision towards the choice of ice class must be made. This choice will be accomplished with the help of the ship merit factor (SMF), which considers the potential earnings arising from the increase in operational days for a higher ice class while accounting for the increased expenditure in the ice free season and areas of operation. As a result, a comparative study will be presented for the LNG sea transport operation on the route from Rotterdam to Yamal, which thereby visualizes a decision-support procedure for an arctic transit operation.

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