A whole new network with untapped resources and new trade lanes are attracting governments and the private sector as Arctic Ice continues to melt. The ongoing discoveries in the Arctic was akin to finding a “New Africa”.
“As recently as 20 or so years ago, the Arctic was completely unknown and unmarked territory,” Iceland’s President Olafur Grimsson told an Arctic Circle Forum in Singapore on Thursday. “It is as if Africa suddenly appeared on our radar screen.”
The Arctic region is abundant with rare metals and minerals, oil and gas, and renewable energy sources such as geothermal and wind power. The Singapore to Rotterdam trip can be reduced by up to ten days travel time saving on fuel and other costs in the process.
However, the Polar Bear habitats are being affected by the melting ice. An Arctic shipping route will lessen emissions as vessels will give off less fuel. Chinese state-owned liner Cosco had expressed eagerness to begin a service via the Arctic.
Singapore which is in the maritime industry for nearly 200 years is watching the development of the Arctic closely. Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said at the Arctic Circle Forum: “The Northern Sea Route, traversing the waters north of Russia, Norway and other countries of the Arctic, could reduce travel time between Northeast Asia and Europe by a third.” Keppel Corp had already built and delivered ten “ice-class” vessels and were working with oil companies and drillers to develop a “green” rig.
A total investment of US$100 billion may be made by companies in the Arctic by 2022 according to a 2012 report from Lloyd’s of London.
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