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The articles excerpted on this site report on the state of the industry as seen by mainstream media, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the officers of the ILWU Coast Longshore Division.

Melting Arctic: Bering Strait is the next Panama Canal

Bering Strait shipping lanes are opening up as polar ice melts. Click on the image to read the Alaska Dispatch article.

Bering Strait shipping lanes are opening up as polar ice melts. Click on the image to read the Alaska Dispatch article.

As Arctic sea ice melts at unprecedented rates, opening new shipping routes, it is time for Alaskans to demand a seat at the table for planning coastal infrastructure. It is no longer a question of if but when the increasing marine traffic will affect our lives. … The world’s ships are already sailing past Western and Northern Alaska. On the western coast, cargo ship traffic is accelerating. Last fall, two container ships made it north through the Bering Strait, turned left at the top of Russia and continued on to northern Europe, escorted by Russian icebreakers.

Coast Guard experts today predict that in my lifetime, the volume of shipping passing through or near Dutch Harbor will be as large as it is in Singapore today. Yet we haven’t even decided where a single U.S. deepwater port will be located in Western Alaska, let alone started to plan for its construction. … The U.S. Department of Defense is about to launch a two-year process to designate the best location for Alaska’s Bering Sea deepwater port.

From the Alaska Dispatch, February 28, 2010

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