English Polish
Akademia Morska w Szczecinie

DSpace Home

DSpace/Manakin Repository

Show simple item record

Author Pawelski, Jan
Affiliation Gdynia Maritime University 81-87 Morska St., 81-225 Gdynia, Poland
E-mail j.pawelski@wn.umg.edu.pl
ISSN printed 1733-8670
URI https://repository.am.szczecin.pl/handle/123456789/2712
Abstract The grounding of a 400-meter long container vessel, called Ever Given, in the Suez Canal blocked the busiest shipping lane, which is responsible for 12% of seaborne trade, for 6 days. Some shipping companies had to divert their vessels and they had to take a much longer route around Africa to reach European ports. The concerned shipping industry started to look for alternative sea route to the Suez Canal with lesser risk of blockage, without a need to go around Africa. Such routes, which connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, exist in the Arctic and the warming of the global climate makes them more accessible over time but the assessment of their viability requires a multifaceted analysis based on available professional navigational publications, scientific papers, and knowledge of polar shipping realities. Several nautical aspects are taken into account with the purpose of choosing a polar route that is most suitable as an alternative to the Suez Canal. Three routes are under consideration. One of them is the Northern Sea Route in the eastern part of the Arctic Ocean, along the coast of the Russian Federation. The second route is the Northwest Passage through the western part of the Arctic, passing waters belonging to Greenland, Canada, and the United States. The third one passes near the North Pole, a prospective route that may become available for commercial shipping in the future due to Arctic ice shrinkage, and it is known as the Transpolar Route. Analysis of these routes unambiguously point to the Northern Sea Route as the only viable option. Most prospective alternatives to the Suez Canal are technically feasible with the new generation of cargo vessels and they are experiencing a growth in maritime traffic together with a steady development of associated infrastructure. The existing simplified analyses of the transit costs, assuming strait passage in polar waters without any course deviation and the additional fuel that is burnt to overcome increased friction during passage in ice, shows that under present conditions that the Suez Canal Route is still cheaper than any polar transit and, moreover, offers year-round availability. It cannot be ruled out that the upcoming warming of the Arctic climate, and a lowering of the transit tariffs by the Russian Federation may tip the balance in favor of the Northern Sea Route. Presented here is an analysis of the competitiveness of the Arctic Routes in comparison to the Suez Canal from the perspective of the mariner.
Publisher Scientific Journals Maritime University of Szczecin, Zeszyty Naukowe Akademia Morska w Szczecinie
Keywords Arctic maritime transport
Keywords Arctic shipping
Keywords Arctic Sea routes
Keywords Northern Sea Route navigation
Keywords Northwest Passage navigation
Keywords Polar maritime transport
Title Arctic shipping routes as alternative to the Suez Canal
Type Original scientific article
  1. ABS (2014) Navigating the Northern Route Advisory, (pp. 4, 19–20) Spring, Tx, 2014.
  2. Arctic Portal (2021) Available from: https://arcticportal.org/ ap-library/news/343-northwest-passage [Accessed: April 12, 2021].
  3. Arctic Today (2021) Traffic on Northern Sea Route doubles as Russia aims to reduce ice-class requirement. [Online]. Available from: https://www.arctictoday.com/traffic-northern-sea-route-doubles-russia-aims-reduce-ice-class-requirements [Accessed: March 22, 2021].
  4. Bringham, L.W. (2008) Update – Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment of the Arctic Council. Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians, Fairbanks 2008.
  5. Buixade, A. et al. (2014) Commercial Arctic shipping through the Northeast Passage: routes, resources, governance, technology, and infrastructure. Polar Geography 37, 4, pp. 298–324, doi: 10.1080/1088937X.2014.965769.
  6. Daley, C. (2014) Ice Class Rules Description and Comparison. [Online]. Available from: https://www.engr.mun.ca/ ~cdaley/8074/Ice%20Class%20Rules_CD.pdf [Accessed: April 17, 2021].
  7. Eger, K.M. (2010) Natural Conditions and Navigation through the Northwest Passage. [Online]. Available from: http://www.arctis search.com/Natural+Conditions+and +Navigation+through+the+Northwest+Passage [Accessed: May 10, 2021].
  8. El-Tablawy, T. & Karam, S. (2021) Suez Canal Chief Proposes Widening, Deepening Vital Waterway. [Online]. Available from: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/ 2021-05-11/suez-canal-chief-proposes-widening-deepening -vital-waterway [Accessed: May 11, 2021].
  9. Furuichi, M. & Otsuka, N. (2013) Cost Analysis of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and Conventional Route Shipping. Proceedings of the IAME 2013 Conference, July 3–5, Marseille, France.
  10. GlobalSecurity (2021) Available from: https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/sovcomflot-margerie. htm [Accessed: June 10, 2021].
  11. Gunnarsson, B. (2021) Recent ship traffic and developing shipping trends on the Northern Sea Route – Policy implications for future arctic shipping. Marine Policy 124, 104369, doi: 10.1016/j.marpol.2020.104369.
  12. Hart, R. (2021) Shipping Companies Stuck Near Suez Are Reportedly Alerting U.S. Navy Over ‘Piracy Risks’. [Online]. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ roberthart/2021/03/26/shipping-companies-stuck-near-suez -are-reportedly-alerting-us-navy-over-piracy-risks/?sh=7af 840a03e36 [Accessed: April 21, 2021].
  13. Humpert, M. & Raspotnik, A. (2012) The Future of Arctic Shipping along Transpolar Sea Route. Arctic Yearbook 2012, pp. 281–308. Washington DC: The Arctic Institute.
  14. IMO (2014) Polar Code MEPC 68/21 Add. 1 Annex 10 as adopted in 2014, International Maritime Organization.
  15. Kubny, H. (2021) Northeast Passage not to safe to sail. [Online] Available from: https://polarjournal.ch/en/2021/03/08/ northeast-passage-not-so-safe-to-sail/ [Accessed: October 21, 2021].
  16. LaRocco, L.A. (2021) Suez Canal blockage is delaying an estimated $400 million an hour in goods. [Online]. Available from: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/25/suez-canalblockage-is-delaying-an-estimated-400-million-an-hour-ingoods.html [Accessed: May 02, 2021].
  17. Melia, N., Haines, K. & Hawkins, E. (2016) Sea ice decline and 21st century trans-Arctic shipping routes. Geophysical Research Letters 43(18), p. 9721, doi: 10.1002/2016GL069315.
  18. MEPC 76 (2021) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 76), 10 to 17 June 2021 (remote session) [Online] Available from: https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/ MeetingSummaries/Pages/MEPC76meetingsummary.aspx [Accessed: November 07, 2021].
  19. Merrit, A. (2021) Canada’s Arctic Presence and the Northwest Passage. [Online] Available from: https://ruor.uottawa. ca/bitstream/10393/31478/1/MERRITT,%20Andrew%20 20145.pdf [Accessed: May 08, 2021].
  20. NASA (2021) Available from: https://earthobservatory.nasa. gov/world-of-change/sea-ice-arctic [Accessed: May 02, 2021].
  21. NGA (2017) North Coast of Russia. Pub 183, Sailing Directions (Enroute), (12th Ed.). National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Springfield 2017
  22. NSRA (2021) Tariffs for the icebreaker escorting of ships rendered by FSUE «Atomflot» in the water area of the Northern Sea Route 2014. [Online]. Available from: http://www. nsra.ru/en/ofitsialnaya_informatsiya/tarrifs_for_icebreaker_ escort_atomflot.html [Accessed: October 21, 2021].
  23. OCIMF (2017) Northern Sea Route Navigation: Best Practises and Challenges. London.
  24. Østreng, W. (2010) The Northwest Passage (NWP). [Online]. Available from: http://www.arctis-search.com/The+ Northwest+Passage+2 [Accessed: May 10, 2021].
  25. Russia Today (2021) Russia to make Northern Sea Route cheaper than Suez Canal as country seeks to benefit from Russia Today, Ever Given blockage & climate change. [Online]. Available from: https://www.rt.com/russia/519829-northern -sea-route-suez-alternative [Accessed: May 10, 2021].
  26. Stewart, E.J., Howell, S.E.L., Draper, D., Yackel, J.J. & Tivy, A. (2007) Sea Ice in Canada’s Arctic: Implications for Cruise Tourism. Arctic 60(4), pp. 370–380.
  27. Wergeland, T. (2010) Arctic Shipping Routes – Cost Comparisons with Suez. [Online]. Available from: http://www. arctis-search.com/Arctic+Shipping+Routes+-+Cost+Comparisons+with+Suez [Accessed: April 17, 2021].
  28. Werr, P. & Saul, J. (2021) Suez Canal Must Upgrade Quickly to Avoid Future Shipping Disruption. [Online] Available from: https://www.marinelink.com/news/suez-canal-upgrade-quickly-avoid-future-486534 [Accessed: April 17, 2021].
  29. Yu, H. (2008) IACS Polar Class Requirements and Hull Structural Design Applications. [Online] Houston, Tx: ABS. Available from: https://seatracker.ru/viewtopic. php?t=30576 [Accessed: May 10, 2021].
ISSN on-line 2392-0378
Language English
Funding No data
Figures 10
Tables 2
DOI 10.17402/507
Published 2022-06-30
Accepted 2022-03-07
Recieved 2021-07-27

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Search repository

Advanced Search


My Account

RSS Feeds