The potential for activities in the High North is determined by three factors that are of particular interest to the maritime industry, namely: energy recovery offshore, intra-regional transport and polar transit. Ships have transported goods and equipment into the area, and natural resources out, for many years. In more recent times, the region’s offshore petroleum resources have resulted in increased activity. Intra-regional transport therefore holds the most potential for the maritime industry in the High North, both in the short- and medium-term. Polar transit along the northern sea routes also has the potential to be important, but is expected to be limited in volume in the coming years.

Three influential global developments converge in the Arctic:

• the consequences of climate change and global warming

• changes in global growth drivers and trade patterns

• factors relating to geo-strategic security policy

Against this backdrop, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association believes that the development of commercial activity in the Arctic requires an incremental, cautious approach based on scientific, empirical and practical knowledge. It is also important to acknowledge and appreciate that there is, and has been, significant activity in parts of the Arctic for centuries.

To ensure that increasing commercial activity in the High North is conducted in a way that is well ordered, sustainable and responsible, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association believes that the following conditions are essential:

• relevant international rules for Arctic maritime operations must be in place

• there has to be a comprehensive development of relevant infrastructure

• adequate industrial standards must be developed

 

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