Futures of shipping in the Arctic until 2050

Erokhin, D., Rovenskaya, E. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2761-3443, & Strelkovskii, N. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6862-1768 (2022). Futures of shipping in the Arctic until 2050. In: Arctic Frontiers 2022, 08 – 11 May 2022, Tromsø.

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The Arctic sea ice is melting with the magnitude and pace of warming being more than twice than the world average. This increases the potential of global trade to cross the Arctic Ocean. Currently, the Arctic does not have the required infrastructure and investments into the region are limited. It was estimated that US$1 trillion would need to be invested in the Arctic infrastructure over the next 15 years. These developments imply long planning periods, e.g., it may take more than 10 years to build a brand-new icebreaker. Thus, it is of utmost importance to understand what will be shipped, at what risk, at what cost, and by whom and to whom. Whether raw materials and minerals, fisheries, tourism, manufactured goods, or some other type of activity will prevail on the Arctic routes will determine the kind of infrastructure needed. Will it be shipping from Shanghai all the way down to Rotterdam? Or is it supposed that these will be short ships landing in different harbors? Working through these issues with the elaboration of potential scenarios is decisive for the evaluation of infrastructural investment decisions. Is it economics or geopolitics that will mainly drive the Arctic development? Will it be a kind of economic landscape in which countries compete or collaborate? In this work, we present alternative narratives describing plausible futures of shipping in the Arctic until 2050 where we address the above uncertainties at the regional and global scales. These crossscale consistent plausible narratives have been co-created in the framework of a scenario building project together with representatives of policy, business, and academic communities. We distinguish between four long-term scenarios: high volume of destination and low volume of transit shipping; high volume of destination and transit shipping; low volume of destination and transit shipping; and low volume of destination and high volume of transit shipping. Key factors that determine these scenarios include infrastructure development, navigation conditions, global and regional governance, regulatory and financial barriers, advanced technologies, and decarbonization. The scenarios can inform the development of short-, medium-, and long-term policy measures aimed at the search of common interests and fostering cooperation in the Arctic.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Cooperation and Transformative Governance (CAT)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2022 08:00
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2022 08:00
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/18221

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