GAO: Limited Commercial Arctic Development Foreseen
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Arctic Tow: File photo

Decreasing seasonal sea ice has opened up Arctic waters for longer periods with resulting potential economic opportunities in commercial shipping, cruises, commercial fishing, oil, and mining. In light of the importance of U.S. efforts to effectively manage Arctic issues, GAO was asked to examine U.S. actions related to developing and investing in Arctic maritime infrastructure, which it did without making any recommendations.

The Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) had earlier prioritized two broad categories to be addressed in the near term: information infrastructure, such as mapping and charting, and response services, such as search and rescue. Implementation of those actions is at the discretion of each federal agency.

This report discusses:
(1) current commercial maritime activity in the U.S. Arctic and anticipated activity in the next 10 years,
(2) actions taken by government entities in support of planning and developing U.S. Arctic maritime infrastructure, and
(3) federal interagency efforts to identify and prioritize Arctic maritime-infrastructure investments.

GAO interviewed representatives from the commercial-shipping, cruise, commercial-fishing, oil, and mining industries and government entities involved in the U.S. Arctic.

Site visits were conducted to Nome, Barrow, and Anchorage, Alaska. These sites were selected based on factors such as geographic location and infrastructure activity.

Report findings
Commercial U.S. Arctic maritime activities are expected to be limited for the next 10 years, according to industry representatives, due to a variety of factors. Interviews with industry representatives highlighted a variety of general challenges related to operating in the Arctic, such as geography, extreme weather, and hard-to-predict ice floes.

Industry-specific factors were also cited as contributing to limited commercial activity. For example, shipping companies noted higher costs with Arctic transit; cruise industry groups noted a lack of demand for Arctic cruises from the mainstream cruise-consumer base, and oil companies last drilled offshore exploratory wells in the U.S. Arctic in 2012.

Although the activity will likely be limited, federal, state, and local stakeholders have taken some actions to plan for future maritime-infrastructure investments. Some of these actions address factors that, as identified by industry representatives, contribute to the current and expected limited maritime activity in the U.S. Arctic.

For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in collaboration with the State of Alaska, has taken steps to study the development of an Arctic deepwater port; the lack of which is a factor identified by mining representatives as contributing to the expected limited mining activity in the U.S. Arctic.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is in the preliminary phase of seeking to acquire a new polar icebreaker, which could be used for emergency response, research assistance, or patrols.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
and the Alaska government are working to improve mapping, charting, and weather information for the U.S. Arctic.

GAO Recommendations
GAO states it is not making recommendations in this report. USCG, NOAA, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of the Interior sent GAO technical comments on this report, which were incorporated as appropriate. USACE did not have any comments on this report.



Maritime Today

The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter November 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Windrock Names Kelleher Global Business Development Manager

Edward P. Kelleher will be assuming the new role of Global Business Development Manager – Diesel, effective December 1st.   In this role, Mr. Kelleher will be

Canada to Aid Developing Nations Fight Climate Change

Canada will provide aid to developing countries to combat climate change, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday ahead of talks on global warming,

Sandra Weakens to Tropical Storm off Mexico's Coast

Hurricane Sandra weakened to a tropical storm on Friday and was expected to continue losing strength as it approached Mexico's Pacific coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.


Rates, Fees of Danish Maritime Authority to be Revised

A number of fee rates within the Danish Maritime Authority's area will be changed from 2016. The price schedule is available from the webpage of the Danish Maritime Authority.

Fugro's Havila Harmony to join MH370 Search

Fugro is providing an additional vessel, the Havila Harmony, to join the search for the missing flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. From the 93-metre multi-role vessel,

Henriksen Unveils Strongest SOLAS Boat Lifting Hook

H Henriksen of Norway has received SOLAS certification for a new off-load single-point boat lifting hook capable of holding up to 22.5-tonnes. The quick release

Coast Guard

Tote Cargo ship adrift near Haida Gwaii

The MV North Star, a cargo ship that is owned by TOTE Maritime, spent more than half a day adrift Tuesday off the coast of British Columbia, Canada.   The Canadian

U.S. Ups Philippines Aid as South China Sea Turmoil Builds

The United States has raised its military aid to the Philippines this year to $79 million, the U.S. ambassador said on Wednesday, as tension rises in the region

Adrift Cargo Ship Taken in Tow

The Barbados-registered cargo vessel Skog, which was adrift off Orkney after encountering engine problems, is now under tow, the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reported.

Government Update

SSA Welcomes Decision To Extend BEO

The Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) has welcomed the decision by Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry to extend the Competition (Block Exemption

Moore Stephens Highlights Potential Tax Issues for Shipping

As part of the Government’s drive to encourage voluntary compliance with the tax rules, it will legislate to introduce a new requirement that large businesses

U.S. Ups Philippines Aid as South China Sea Turmoil Builds

The United States has raised its military aid to the Philippines this year to $79 million, the U.S. ambassador said on Wednesday, as tension rises in the region


Evergreen Line Orders Ten 2,800 teu Ships

Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen is ordering ten 2,800 TEU container ships from Japanese shipbuilder Imabari Shipbuilding Co.,Ltd and compatriot CSBC Corporation.

ZIM Integrated Shipping Remains Profitable

Despite challenging market environment with freight rates reaching historic lows in several key trades,  ZIM Integrated Shipping Services continues to outperform

Controversial Nicaragua Canal Project Postponed

China's Hong Kong Nicaragua Development (HKND) Co. said it is delaying the start of construction on a controversial $50 billion inter-ocean canal across Nicaragua until late 2016.

Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1182 sec (8 req/sec)