The report in February by the Maritime Division of the Copenhagen Business School said Arctic liner shipping may become economically feasible around 2040, if the ice cover continues to diminish at the present rate.
In addition, dry bulk and offshore are currently the sectors with the largest potential as the Arctic hosts an abundance of natural resource. “The NSR has the potential to reduce the distance between Europe and Asia by up to 40 per cent, compared to the contemporary Suez Canal,” the report said.
“However, the possibility of a major expansion of the maritime activities within the sectors of bulk, offshoring and liner shipping before mid-Century rests upon several crucial assumptions which are all subject to major uncertainties.”
The study showed that these uncertainties include the hazardous environmental conditions, port and infrastructure availability and high costs of operation compared to the southern shipping lanes.
In addition, the Arctic Ocean lacks an international governmental and regulative framework that, in combination with high entry costs, creates uncertainty for the maritime industry seeking to operate in and around the Arctic Ocean.
“In addition, in order for liner shipping through the Arctic to become more than a niche market, conditions must allow larger vessels to operate along the NSR,” the report stated.
The study said that for the time being, investment in an ice-reinforced container ship would not be advantageous to that of an ordinary vessel within the next decades.