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Climate Change Could Open Up Another Arctic Shipping Route

1 arctic route

Russian researchers find that, by the end of the century, the Northern Sea Route, which hugs the Russian coast opposite the Northwest Passage, could be navigable for more than half the year.

The Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth. As Arctic ice levels dwindle through hotter summers and milder winters, the region has opened up to the shipping and energy industries. A new study finds that one shipping route—the Northern Sea Route—could be navigable for more than half the year by the end of the century.

Parts of the Northern Sea Route, which runs along the Arctic coast of Russia opposite the better-known Northwest Passage, are called the Northeast Passage. The Northern Sea Route can cut the trip between Europe and Asia and North America in half, but, as Eva Holland reported for Pacific Standard last year, Arctic trade routes were once only a pipe dream:
For European monarchs and merchants in the 16th and 17th centuries, the newly “discovered” Americas presented a problem: They were an unexpected obstacle, one whose immense size was not yet fully known, falling square between the ports of Europe and the riches of the Orient. (The construction of the Panama Canal was centuries away.) And so the era’s geographers, who traded in theories at least as often as they did in maps and surveys, posited a theoretical solution: a Northwest Passage, running over the top of North America, and its twin, a Northeast Passage atop Scandinavia and Russia.

Only in the last two decades, however, has climate change really opened up the Arctic to international shipping. In the new study, published today in Environmental Research Letters, researchers from Russia used climate models of sea-ice concentrations to predict what will happen to one optimal trade route along the Northern Sea Route in the future.

The team found that, under the climate scenario in which temperatures rise one to two degrees Celsius, the route will be navigable for a full four months out of the year. In a worst-case climate scenario, where temperatures climb by as much as four or five degrees Celsius, the route could be open for more than six months at a time. (It’s worth noting here that the latter scenario becomes far more likely should global leaders renege on their pledges under the Paris Agreement—the global climate accord that aims to limit warming to two degrees—as President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to do.)

But an iceless Arctic doesn’t necessarily mean smooth sailing. The authors point out that extreme winds and bigger waves will also become more likely along the Northern Sea Route. And as we wrote in October, accidents in the Arctic could amount to environmental disasters for the ecologically vulnerable region (not to mention the increased risks of sailing through a region where search-and-rescue operations are still inexperienced). Shipping along the Northwest Passage already appears to be affecting the behavior of narwhals, as Holland reported:
“We know that in the presence of shipping, we hear a lot fewer narwhal,” [Christopher Debicki, projects director at Oceans North Canada] says, cautioning that the work so far is “preliminary presence-absence studies.” But, he emphasizes, “We certainly know that, in the presence of loud anthropogenic noise, those stations are capturing a lot less narwhal sound. Which seems to suggest that they may be at least temporarily displaced by shipping.”

Of course, just because the route exists doesn’t mean that it will soon be clogged with shipping traffic—climate scientists are not in the business of predicting granular specifics about future trade routes and shipping traffic. But the opening up of the Northern Sea Route comes just as the icy relations between the United States and Russia appear to be warming up, and a new trade deal between the two nations could be in the works. Still, it’s too soon to know what such a deal might do to shipping practices along the route.

Source: psmag.com

18 Apr 2017 17:57
The Grimaldi Group extends its services to Mexico

The Grimaldi Group announces an important enhancement of its overseas maritime services: a new direct service to Mexico, dedicated to the transport of cars, rolling freight and project cargo has been recently launched.
The link is an upgrade of a regular service between the Mediterranean and North America, already performed by the Group with great success since 2015. The new extended service connects the Italian ports of Civitavecchia and Savona and the Turkish port of Gemlik with the North American ports of Halifax (Canada), [ ... ]

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15 Apr 2017 19:35
The 4th Tweed Run will take place in Spetses!

The stylish bike ride that was warmly welcomed in the most important cities of the world as well in Spetses, comes for the fourth time on 21-23rd of April at the car-free, cosmopolitan island of the Saronic Gulf.
The Tweed Run is a carefree bike ride with vintage bikes and atmosphere of a bygone era, accompanied by stylish presences and stops for tea and picnics.
The 4th Tweed Run is looking forward to welcoming you and enjoy every moment of the 4th Tweed Run!

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14 Apr 2017 20:30
Shipping Company of the Year Award for the Grimaldi Group

The Italian group receives the prestigious recognition during the North America Automotive Global Awards

Naples, 10th April 2017 – In the majestic surroundings of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New Orleans, last 5th April the Grimaldi Group received the Shipping Company of the Year award. The ceremony was held during the third edition of the North America Automotive Global Awards, an event organized by Three6Zero, an editorial group specialised in the automotive industry with various publications distributed in America, Asia, [ ... ]

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14 Apr 2017 16:13
MedCruise Ports head to China

As part of MedCruise marketing strategy aiming to promote the Mediterranean as the most popular cruise destination among Asian cruisers, MedCruise is attending this year ITB China 2017: http://www.itb-china.com/ event.

ITB China to be held 10-12 May in Shanghai is a travel trade show exclusively focused on the Chinese Travel Market. The three day event gathers international destinations, service and travel technology providers in Shanghai connecting them with handpicked Chinese buyers. MedCruise will be represented by Maria [ ... ]

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10 Apr 2017 19:33
Chinese Ports Reaching Maximum Capacity

China's ports could reach maximum capacity by early June as stockpiles iron ore build pressure on facilities to create more storage space – resulting in buildings being demolished to create larger ones, trading sources have told Reuters.

The current volume of iron ore in China equates to about 95 million tonnes of steel — enough to build 12,960 replicas of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

This is a result of the marketplace jumping 15.3% in January-February as a price rally last year extended into 2017.

However, imported ore [ ... ]

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06 Apr 2017 19:57
George Marinakis at the opening of the

During the official opening of the "50th International Andros Regatta”, we met Mr. Marinakis- the Managing Director of SetelHellas, who gave us a short interview.

Q: There are a lot of discussions around "green shipping" lately, especially after the recent regulatory measures by EU and IMO.Can the maritime industryto be leader in green technology?

A:First of all, I would like to congratulate the organizers for the wonderful evening and wish them good luck.

Now- at the macro scale, the world that we are living today is simply [ ... ]

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05 Apr 2017 14:31
The Grimaldi Group Supplier of the Year 2016 by General Motors

This is the 16th time that the Group has received the award in the last 17 years.

The Grimaldi Group was named a Supplier of the Year by General Motors during its 25th annual Supplier of the Year awards ceremony held Friday, March 31st in Orlando, Florida.

GM recognized 118 of its best suppliers from 15 countries that have consistently exceeded GM’s expectations, created outstanding value or brought new innovations to the company. The announcement represented the most suppliers GM has recognized since debuting the Supplier [ ... ]

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03 Apr 2017 13:51
Cruise ports develop infrastructure to meet new environmental requirements

Cruise ports also aim to develop infrastructure to meet new environmental requirements. To help members achieve this, MedCruise has partnered with the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC). Together, the organisations plan to advance guidelines on the development of cruise port infrastructure and help MedCruise members benefit from the growth of the industry. The first discussions were held at the MedCruise General Assembly in Tenerife last September. Architects often design port facilities according [ ... ]

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