President of Iceland sees benefits in Arctic melt

iceland-flagThe melting of ice caps during summer months isn’t all negative news according to Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson who told the Main International Trade Day delegates that it helps with shipping in the region.

Both Maine and Iceland will benefit, he said, because of new commercial shipping lanes for four months of the year near Iceland’s waters.

“Iceland and Maine are strategically placed in this new global transportation system, there is a new ocean opening on the planet Earth,” he said. “It’s a reality, whether we like it or not.”

He made the remarks in South Portland, where shipping company Eimskip has established a hub which serves as one of the few ports in the region that doesn’t completely ice over in winter, thus serving much of Eastern Canada.

Grímsson pointed out that a Chinese Icebreaker had come close to the North Pole last summer and that within a decade shipping would be guaranteed through this Arctic passage for four months a year.

Receding polar icecap will also make resources such as iron ore, gas and oil more accessible, he added. It would also shorten the trip between China and Europe by almost 50 per cent.

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