A bit of weather, some potential human or computer error, and the Suez Canal has come to a standstill for the day.
For some of you, this might mean a delay of a few days in some long-awaited exercise equipment or Playstation 5, already subject to the many supply chain disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and nothing more.
But what’s a blog focused on environmental and resource economics with a bit of a bias for the Arctic for, if not to speculate wildly when strange new events with potentially global implications strike? So here is my reminder that SUBSTITUTES MATTER, and my off-the-cuff, semi-informed but not to be taken as fully informative, speculation about one of the many potential longer term impacts of this event:
This, alongside the increasingly rapid pace of climate change AND co-development of functional maritime regulation and insurance in the Arctic, is the turning point for the Northern Sea Route! Putin will easily now meet his goal of at least 80 million tons of goods transported on the NSR by 2024 (in 2019 the volume was 31.5 million tons). This will increase all sorts of pressures in the marine Arctic, from invasive species introductions (from e.g. ballast water or hull fouling) to infrastructure demands that result in a booming Russian-Asian Arctic cruise business.
So – get to know the pillars of Arctic development, communities, and think about the Arctic equivalent of the butterfly chaos or telecouplings story: If a giant cargo ship gets stuck in the Suez, how many tourists see polar bears in Franz Josef Land?