[Show/Hide Left Column]


Natural Conditions and Navigation through the Trans Polar Passage

(by Karl Magnus Eger)


When considering the natural characteristics and shipping on the TPP, the central Arctic Ocean has no draft limitations, narrow straits or complex archipelago which puts constraints on navigation. Nonetheless, the sea ice conditions are the key factor of limitation in terms of any potential commercial shipping routes. No commercial cargo ship has yet crossed the central Arctic Ocean. There are huge uncertainties as well as variations between different climate models trying to predict the development of ice conditions.

In terms of any regular shipping on these routes, however, DNVs Arctic Container Project (ARCON) simulations indicates that the ice will be too heavy and the calculated costs too high for any regular transport. Models indicate that the ice conditions will continue to be heavy during winter and spring seasons, even in 2050, and the route is not expected to be completely ice free in summer.

Karl Magnus Eger, 2010, Natural Conditions and Navigation through the Trans Polar Passage, CHNL.©