Melted polar ice good for Dutch shipping businesses
Melting ice caps can shift trade flows between Asia in Europe in favor of the Northern Sea Route. That would be a beneficial development for the port of Rotterdam, forecast the researchers from the University of Bern. Freighters now sailing from Europe to Asia take the route via Indian Ocean, which is 20,000 kilometers long. A route via the Northern sea is a third shorter. It is also safer, because cargo ships do not have to ward off pirate raids from the waters off Africa. Eight percent of the world trade now passes through Suez Canal. Up to two-thirds of those ships may soon start taking a shorter route via the Northern Sea, predicts the Central Planning Bureau (CPB). Because of the falling costs, trade between Europe and Asia can grow by about ten percent, they suggest. Rotterdam would be one of the main beneficiaries of such growth as the largest port in Europe. "We would rather not see the melting of ice caps happen," Sjaak Poppe of the port authority cautions. "The disappearance of polar ice indicates how quickly the climate is changing and how much reduction of CO2 emission is necessary." Shorter journeys over water also translates into a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, reminds the CPB.