The Arctic tanker Christophe de Margerie, operated by Sovcomflot, is seen in the Gulf of Ob in northern Russia on February, 18, 2019. | Alexander Ryumin/TASS via Getty Images

Global competition in the Arctic is heating up as the year-round sea ice retreats.

The Arctic is now open for business year-round after a large commercial ship sailed the Northern Sea Route from Jiangsu, China, to a Russian gas plant on the Arctic coast, for the first time ever during the month of February, when winter temperatures normally make the icy waterway impassable.

The tanker, owned by Russian maritime shipping company Sovcomflot, was able to make the trip through the Arctic sea ice because it is no longer frozen all winter due to human-induced global warming.

The ability to make this trip 365 days a year opens up vast new possibilities for the shipping industry, which carries 80 percent of the world’s cargo…

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