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An Arctic dream : the opening of the Northern Sea Route : impact and possibilities for Iceland

Júní 2010

The Arctic is melting at an unprecedented rate which might, in the not so distance future, open up the Northern Sea Route, shortening the distance between East Asia and Europe a great deal (approximately 40%) and making the exploration of natural minerals in the Arctic feasible. This thesis takes a look at what might happen if Iceland can take advantage of its strategic location in the North-Atlantic, at the end of the NSR, to become a transshipment port for ongoing cargo destined for North-America and Europe, or even yet a base for Arctic exploration and processing of natural minerals like oil and gas. By examining the technological aspects of NSR navigation, present state of sea-transportations, and how the development of transshipment ports and vessel sizes has changed the landscape of international logistics. With this information, I will try to evaluate if it is economically feasible to use the NSR as an international cargo gateway, and if Iceland has what it takes to become a hub for cargo transshipments. Although shipping through the Suez Canal is still by far the least expensive option, the NSR offers a great potential to become a realistic alternative; however, the potentials for Iceland are less than desirable at the moment in regards to a transshipment port, but are more realistic in the field of processing natural resources.


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