The AEC Maritime Transportation Working Group started its work in 2014 with members nominated by each of the AEC’s Legacy Members. Since then, shipping communities from South Korea and Greece have joined the work, together with representatives of ship operators such as Gazprom Neft. The AEC Maritime Transportation Working Group has recently issued a report under the leadership of Chairman Mikko Niini (Navidom). Their report “The State of the Maritime Transportation in the Arctic” provides an overview of the current status of maritime transportation in the Arctic and discusses challenges.
According to the report, maritime transportation volumes in the Arctic are on the rise. The annual volume of LNG traffic from Sabetta in Russia is now reaching 15 million tons. Annual transportation volume of iron ore from Baffinland iron ore mine in Canada exceeded 5 million tons for the first time in 2018. This marks the start of increasing transportation volumes in the region.
Most of the traffic along Arctic sea lanes consists of destinational shipping. While transits along the Northeast and Northwest passages have received media attention, these passages haven’t yet materialized into serious alternatives for transit in the North. Regular destinational shipping can lay ground for the potential growth of transit traffic.
The report also touches upon examples of increasing protectionist measures in the Arctic. This development potentially hinders the development of Arctic maritime transportation. The AEC’s Maritime Transportation Working Group emphasizes that there should be measures to ensure that national interests and the potential provided by international shipping can co-exist.
The full report is available here