As the headlines today are dominated by shrieking reports over the rate of the melting Arctic Sea ice, several nations of the Pacific are taking advantage of this fact, in pursuit of new Arctic sea routes. While many immediately assume that this fact of melting Arctic ice means than human economic activity must be halted, these nations are not so easily fooled.
Japan’s NHK news service reports that cargo transport between Asia and Europe on the Northern Sea Route has increased nearly tenfold in the past 2 years.
Russian state firm Rosatomflot recently stated that more than one million tons of goods were shipped this year on this Arctic sea route. The figure for 2010 was about 110,000 tons. The firm said petroleum products and iron ore accounted for a large part of the shipments. Around 60 percent of the cargo was transported from Europe and Russia to Asia.
This is attracting attention as vessels could cut travel time between Europe and Asia to two-thirds compared to a route through the Suez Canal