Over the centuries, the world’s trading patterns have changed due to population migration and growth, climate changes, politics and technological advances. Some trading patterns and routes have declined and others have emerged. This paper will investigate the technical, environmental and economic potential of using an Arctic Ocean route as a substitute for present day northern hemisphere, long-haul, container shipping routes. Issues such as the impact of climate changes on the potential for using the Arctic as an ocean highway will be noted. Proposed routes and ports of call as well as various model containerships movements will be investigated. Issues such as basic ship and terminal design, transit times, and ship induced emissions will also be addressed. The use of nuclear power for ship propulsion will be considered.

The paper will concentrate on discussing the shipment of containers to and from the East and West Coasts of the United States, Western Europe, and the Far East with large containerships in liner service using the Arctic Ocean highway and smaller feeder ships moving the containers from four, specifically selected, ports to final destination ports. Winter shipping conditions as well as summer shipping conditions will be considered. Problems, advantages and limitations of the proposed system will be discussed.

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