Global classification services provider ABS has signed a cooperation agreement with China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO) to jointly bring technical capabilities on trans-Arctic shipping. Diverse climate conditions are believed to have paved the way to new operational and trading opportunities in previously inaccessible areas, such as the Northern Sea Route. The newly opened route spans across the principal Asian and European ports, reducing the distance compared to the existing Suez Canal route.ABS and COSCO will initiate the venture by developing a cooperative initiative on Arctic Shipping Technology Development. ABS Greater China Division president and COO Eric Kleess said: "Combining ABS' technical experience with COSCO's successful use of the northeast passage with the first Chinese merchant ship, Yongsheng, navigating this route creates a solid foundation for jointly promoting the development of sustainable shipping in Arctic waters."The companies are expected to leverage their experience on Arctic transportation and will pledge their technical capabilities to enhance COSCO's use of the northeast passage to promote regular trading, explore navigation in northwest passage.ABS was actively involved in the IMO group assigned to establish new requirements for Arctic waters and had published the ABS Advisory Note on the Polar Code to educate the operators and ship-owners on the commercial shipping routes through Arctic waters. The agreement also includes constructing an ice-classed vessel suited to traverse through the Trans-Atlantic waters. Last month, ABS Group subsidiary Genesis Technology Solutions entered into a contract with Golar LNG to develop a maintenance strategy for the company's new series of FLNG vessels incorporated with the GoFLNG floating liquefaction technology.