The future of Arctic Shipping

Icebreaker ship at Yenisei river

Due to climate change the eternal ice is melting. Already now, many ships have crossed the Arctic and some predict a golden future for the Northern Shipping Sea-Route. If so, what consequences will this have for global supply chains? And how sustainable can an exploitation of the Arctic be? These and other topics were discussed at the symposium on arctic shipping on 19 June 2019 at Kühne Logistics University (KLU) organized by the Hapag-Lloyd Center for Shipping and Global Logistics (CSGL).

An international set of experts in the areas of shipping, political sciences and geography agreed that it seems reasonable to consider Arctic shipping a technical possibility for the future to cut transit times and thus expenses. “Still a set of adequate requirements, laws and regulations as standards are needed to organize this new and growing traffic.”, summarizes CSGL Senior Researcher and co-organizer of the event Dr. Katharina Renken. “The Arctic, however, remains an inhospitable and difficult environment for shipping. It is a particularly delicate ecosystem and the overall society goal must be to limit the impact on the fragile environment.” As far as the current drawbacks are concerned, the discussions focused on natural challenges and risks posed by the environment.

Of particular interest for the audience was the finding that Arctic Shipping would very likely happen in our lifetime. With exports and imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and oil growing, the Arctic might not only become the route of transport but also a new region of wells.

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