China Plans For Ice-Free Arctic Shipping - Would Shorten Trip to European Ports by 4000 Miles

china shipping hamburg photo

photo: Mad Smith via flickr.

It's no great secret that one of the consequences of the Arctic ice melting is that at some point in the next decade or two, in all likelihood, a permanent sea route will open up. Nations bordering the region have been arguing/discussing what will be newly important national boundaries for some time. But now, according to a new piece of research from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China is preparing for a piece of the action.Main Motivation is Shipping

As China's economy relies on foreign trade--with nearly half of its GDP dependent on shipping--there could be much to gain if the shipping route from Shanghai to Hamburg is shortened by 6400 km during the summer each year. With insurance costs on the traditional route via the Suez Canal having risen more than tenfold due to piracy, the Nordic countries could become China's new gateway to Europe. From China's viewpoint, an ice-free Arctic will increase the value of close ties with the Nordic countries.

Report author Linda Jakobson told the AP, "China is slowly but steadily recognizing the commercial and strategic opportunities that will arise from an ice-free Arctic...but the government does not want to alarm the Arctic states and, therefore, is cautious about its Arctic policies."

Read more: China Prepares For An Ice-Free Arctic [PDF]

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