Arctic Yearbook 2012
Humpert and Raspotnik
and will affect shipping across the TSR. If these international legal instruments will indeed be
sufficient for the protection of the fragile ecosystem is yet another story.
Economic Feasibility and Risk
The challenge to Arctic shipping along the
TSR is not primarily a technological one,
rather an economic one, based on the triad of
liability, viability, and reliability. Instead of
conducting a complete economic cost-benefit
analysis the economic advantages of Arctic
shipping are often calculated using a
simplified formula: shorter sailing distances
allow for faster trips and result in cost savings.
Specifically, shipping operators can achieve cost savings through a reduction of number of days at
sea, energy efficiency improvements due to slower sailing speeds, or a combination of both (Schøyen
& Bråthen, 2011). Distance savings along the TSR can be as high as 41% compared to the traditional
shipping lanes via the Suez Canal. Whereas a voyage at 17 knots
from Japan to Europe takes
roughly 27 days via the Suez Canal, it takes just 16 days via the TSR. Shorter sailing distances factor
in considerable fuel cost savings. Shipping operators also derive savings from the reduced number of
days at sea, which allows a ship to make more return trips within a given time period resulting in
increased revenue and potentially greater profits.
Table 2 Sailing Distances
Based on the authors’ calculations from Google Earth (Version 184.108.40.20613) [Computer Software]. (2012).
Portworld.com (2012). Distance Calculation. Retrieved (05.8.12) from,
Sea-Distances.com (2012). Sea distances voyage calculator nautical miles.
Retrieved (05.8.12) from,