IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Feasibility of a Sea Route through the Canadian Arctic

Listed author(s):
  • Saran Somanathan


    (Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G8.)

  • Peter C Flynn


    (Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G8.)

  • Jozef K Szymanski

    (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2G8)

Registered author(s):

    One predicted consequence of global warming is the thinning of Arctic sea ice. This raises the question whether the fabled Northwest Passage can be used for year round ship traffic, and whether the distance saved by using the polar route justifies the incremental investment in ice-breaking ships. A conceptual study using computer simulation was conducted to evaluate the Northwest Passage versus the Panama Canal routes between eastern North America and Japan. Recent historical ice conditions were modelled stochastically to calculate ship transit time. The economic performance was then evaluated by estimating the port-to-port shipping cost component of the overall required freight rate, again using stochastic modelling for a variety of cost factors. The most critical economic variable is the incremental capital cost between an ice capable and a standard Panamax ship. Shipping from St John's Newfoundland to Yokohama is economic through the Northwest Passage even with an incremental capital cost of 80%. Extending the route to New York would make the Northwest Passage non-competitive. We report the sensitivity of the port-to-port shipping cost for a number of economic factors, with capital and fuel cost being the most significant. Maritime Economics & Logistics (2007) 9, 324–334. doi:10.1057/palgrave.mel.9100185

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text PDF
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text HTML
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan & International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) in its journal Maritime Economics & Logistics.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 324-334

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:pal:marecl:v:9:y:2007:i:4:p:324-334
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:marecl:v:9:y:2007:i:4:p:324-334. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)

    or (Rebekah McClure)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.