Melting of Arctic Ice Opening Up New Routes to Asia

Melting polar ice steadily opens the once-frozen Arctic to commercial traffic. One route along the Russian coast reduces travel time between Europe and Asia by nearly half; in the Northwest Passage of the Canadian Arctic, 24 ships passed through last year compared to 69 during the previous century. Impatient about claiming and accessing vast stores of mineral wealth, nations and industries commission new ships designed to navigate the perilous waters: Russia plans two new nuclear icebreakers and the oil and mineral industry is building several more. The treacherous passages are not yet, in the words of Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, a “trans-Arctic Panama Canal” for commercial traffic. Government rescue and pumping vessels may not be so quick to adapt, though, even as analysts warn that unpredictable Arctic weather and icing continue to pose many risks. – YaleGlobal

Melting of Arctic Ice Opening Up New Routes to Asia

Boon to Global Shipping
Christoph Seidler, Gerald Traufetter
Saturday, October 4, 2014
© Spiegel Online 2010

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