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Arctic Yearbook 2012
Shipping and Resources in the Arctic Ocean
logistically underdeveloped and ice clogged NWP, and even less so for the TPP, which at present is
nothing but a theoretical sea route for the long term.
3. Among the blue water corridors connecting with Arctic passages, the NMC in the Atlantic is by
far the most important, servicing both continental Europe and increasingly also the North American
East coast. On the Pacific side, no such formal connection exists, but there are political indications
that – despite the political hurdles to be overcome – Russia, Japan, China and South Korea may
choose to pool resources for the establishment of such a corridor.
What can be envisaged for the medium and long term is that the northern, western and eastern
flanks of Eurasia are circumscribed by formally established transport routes through a continuous
stretch of blue and ice-infested waters. In this way, the two sets of passages and corridors will make
up an integrated hemispheric transport system connecting the Arctic to the economic and political
affairs of the southern part of the northern hemisphere and the northern part of the southern
hemisphere. Such an outcome is the ultimate political test of the practical logic of the
pedagogic of the
strategic atlas:
that decisions and actions of states are conditioned by their own geographical location
and horizon, and that supply lines for energy and mineral resources tie regions together displaying
their vulnerabilities as well as their interdependencies.
An American integrated hemispheric transport system circumscribing the northern, western and
eastern coasts of North America is less likely to be developed on the same scale as the Eurasian one.
This is because of the relatively low volume of destination and transit shipping envisaged for the
NWP in the years to come. The volumes to be transported are simply too modest through the NWP
and the DC. The NPC seems to be the only route that can serve the western coast of North America
with sufficient volumes of resources. In this perspective the NMC serves both Asian and North
American countries through the NEP rather than the NWP.
The FC is not likely to play any important part in this hemispheric transportation system. In
comparison the DC is the more significant of the two.
4. For the above scenarios to materialise, the infrastructural shortcoming of the Arctic Passages has
to be mended and the NMC has to be defined as a political cooperative project between Pacific
states. That will take time, investments and political compromises. In the meantime, shipments along
the NEP and NMC will increase gradually, more so for Russian waters than for North American