We all agree on the harmful consequences of pollution, and the challenge that this entails for logistics management, me too. And one of the great problems, if not the greatest, caused by such pollution is climate change; nevertheless, it seems that, as a result of climate change, an opportunity opens up for the future in maritime freight logistics.
The Arctic Ocean melts more every year. The disappearance of more ice and more early each season releases the waters for the traffic of ships. Between 2012 and 2014, the average number of ships that sailed Arctic waters rose 20% – including ships looking for resources under the polar waters – according to the first real count that has been carried out by the Csic’s Instituto de Física Interdisciplinar y Sistemas Complejos (Ifisc) and the Universitat Illes Balears.
In 2016, the northern ice extent hit a record low: it was recorded at the end of March and was 14.5 million km2, according to the US Snow and Ice Data Center (Nsidc). 1.12 million less than the average observed by satellite since 1980. In addition, with global warming, snow has started to melt before: on May 13, the northernmost observatory of the US Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (Noaa) found the earliest melting: 10 days earlier than the previous record of 2002.
The new Arctic maritime highway
Martínez Eguíluz points out that the satellite tracking of the ship’s crews has confirmed that “to a smaller layer of ice, more boats”. Especially in the northeast corridor bordering Siberia. New shipping routes are being established “that save up to 7,000 kilometers in the transit of goods between Europe and Asia”, adds the researcher. And it should be noted that between 90-95% of the world’s freight transport is done by sea.
As you can assume, this could imply bad news at the environmental level
That the conditions for the boreal steps are navigated implies that “we must analyze the impacts that they produce since a lot of maritime traffic has consequences in terms of pollution, noise or introduction of species in the ecosystems”, underlines Martínez Eguíluz.
In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the Arctic “is the shortest transit route from the west to the Pacific Ocean. There is great interest worldwide for our Northern Maritime Route, which is now more suitable for navigation because of climate change. “And then he predicted that” given that Russia has the largest ice-breaker fleet in the world, let’s Develop and use this economic advantage. ”
As a curiosity
Two years later, Russia asked the UN for sovereignty over 1.2 million km2 in the Arctic to explore the existence of hydrocarbons. The forecasts speak of 412 billion barrels of oil.
Written by: Manuel Salmeron