According to an article published by The New York Times titled “As Arctic Ice Vanishes, New Shipping Routes Open”, one of the global warming consequences in the future will be the use of shipping routes as the sea ice at the Arctic melts.
The article indicates that since 1980 the ice covering the Arctic Ocean is melting twice as fast as elsewhere and will disappear eventually.
The Artic route would offer some substantial benefits for shipping lines and shippers. The new routes would be more direct between Asia and Europe and eastern North America, which would make them attractive options in the future.
The voyages could fall to less than three weeks in some cases, compared to the traditional routes such as the Panama Canal.
These routes could travel over the pole, at less during part of the summer-fall season. Many nations that include Russia, China, Canada, Iceland and the United States are getting more interested in Artic Shipping.
Ding Nong, executive vice president of the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) confirmed in a conference in Reykjavik that his company´s operations along the Russian Arctic coast reached a record high during 2016:
“As the climate becomes warmer and polar ice melts faster, the Northeast Passage has appeared as a new trunk route connecting Asia and Europe,” said Nong.
However, the variations of the Arctic ice, higher insurance rates and more difficulties with safety conditions would discourage shipping companies. Additionally, the scientific community has expressed its concern over the conservancy topic. The arctic shipping routes could represent a bigger danger for marine mammals like the narwhal, beluga, bowheads and polar bears.