Arctic Yearbook 2012
The Future of Arctic Shipping Along the Transpolar Sea Route
the Northwest Passage (NWP), the Northern Sea Route (NSR), and the Transpolar Sea Route (TSR).
In addition, the Arctic Bridge, a shipping route linking the Arctic seaports of Murmansk (Russia) and
Churchill (Canada), could also develop into a future trade route between Europe and Asia.
This paper will assess the feasibility of the TSR from a climatic and economic standpoint and discuss
how legal and geostrategic considerations will influence the development of this shipping route. In
contrast to the NWP and the NSR, the TSR has thus far been neglected in the realm of academia
and in the public eye. The authors conclude that the opening and future development of Arctic
shipping routes will not only depend on favorable climatic conditions across the Arctic Ocean, but
will also be influenced by a shift in economic and political spheres of influence. The development of
the TSR and its significant economic potential may in part be determined by key geostrategic
considerations as the center of economic and political power continues to shift towards Asia.
Figure 4 Major Arctic Shipping Routes
Author’s own work. Adapted from
The Arctic Portal
(2012). Retrieved (05.3.12) from,