The number of ships sailing the Arctic’s Northwest Passage (NWP) increased from 112 in 2013 to 160 in 2019, representing a 44% rise, according to a new report on Arctic shipping.
This is according to the Arctic Shipping Status Report – ‘Shipping in the Northwest Passage: Comparing 2013 to 2019’ issued this week by the Arctic Council’s Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME).
The Northwest Passage (NWP) is the name given to the various maritime routes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans along the northern coast of North America that span the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. There is no official definition of the NWP, and this report uses the definition of Arctic Waters set out under Canada’s Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act.
PAME’s 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) Report identified four types of Arctic Shipping:
- Destinational transport, where a ship sails to the Arctic, performs some activity in the Arctic, and sails south.
- Intra-Arctic transport, a voyage or marine activity that stays within the general Arctic region and links two or more Arctic States.
- Trans-Arctic transport transit voyages, which are taken across the Arctic Ocean from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans or vice versa.
- Cabotage, to conduct trade or engage in marine transport in coastal waters between ports within an Arctic State.